검색
Contact us | KOREAN

NEWSLETTER

00707012
2011.5
background left image
background right image
background handphone image
background pen image
KOREAN

Papua New Guinea Deputy Foreign Secretary Lucy Bogari: “Korea Achieved Incredible Growth while Retaining its Identity” Lucy Bogari, deputy secretary of foreign affairs of Papua New Guinea who served as her country’s first ambassador to Korea until 1995, recently visited Korea at the invitation of the Korea Foundation. It was her first visit to Korea in 15 years. The following are excerpts from an interview with her:

You served as ambassador to Korea until 1995 So you must be familiar with Korea. What would you say about changes during the past 15 years?

I am very impressed. I am well aware that Korea is a fast-growing country and also taking center stage in the international arena. But changes in Korea have been so remarkable that at first, I had to ask myself if this was really the same country I had known before. Only after spending a night at a hotel here, I realized that I was in Seoul again. It is always fantastic to visit a dynamic country like Korea. When I was serving as ambassador here, Gimpo Airport was the gateway to Korea, but today it is Incheon International Airport. The overall appearance of streets and various facilities has also changed beyond recognition.

What is the main purpose for your visit?

While serving as the ambassador to Korea, I personally evaluated Korea’s unbounded growth potential very highly. Even after leaving Korea, I have watched with keen interest how Korea continues to develop. It is truly marvelous for me to see how Korea has realized its hidden potential and emerged as a key player in the international political and economic arena. Owing to its remarkable growth, Korea now enjoys an international reputation as a G20 member country and a global leader in various fields. I wanted to confirm, in person, all these changes that have happened during the 15 years of my absence and find lessons that I can learn, so I gladly accepted the Korea Foundation’s invitation to visit again.

You are known as a strong advocate of Korea in your home country.
What specific aspects of Korea have captured your interest?

Papua New Guinea Deputy Foreign Secretary Lucy Bogari Korea is one of the countries that actively interact with foreign countries around the world. In particular, through diverse exchanges with leading industrial countries, like the United States, Korea has learned from their strengths and achieved successful growth and development. This can be a valuable model for many developing countries. Especially, I take note of the fact that Korea had to implement a broad range of opening measures in its rapid development process, but still was able to preserve its time-honored traditions and culture. Papua New Guinea also boasts a rich cultural heritage. Economic development is very important but I think that preserving and developing our culture and history is just as important. History and culture are the two most important elements in keeping alive our identity: who we are and where we came from. In this sense, I believe we have so much to learn from Korea, which has managed to join the ranks of developed countries without losing its unique identity.

Korea and Papua New Guinea plan to boost cooperative relations, including the launch of direct flight service.

This time, I arrived in Korea via Singapore. The route requires quite a lot of time and energy. Fortunately, an agreement has been reached between our two governments to launch direct flights that connect Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, with Korea. Through the direct flight route, more people will be able to travel between our two countries much more conveniently. Particularly, the flight service will be beneficial to bilateral business cooperation. Already in Papua New Guinea, a large number of Korean firms, including Daewoo Engineering and Construction, are doing business. At Daewoo alone, there are more than 200 Korean workers, who are currently engaged in building the largest LNG plant in Papua New Guinea. In addition, cooperation and exchange in the fishing industry, in which Korea’s presence can be seen worldwide, will be carried out continuously in the future. What is important is that this is only the beginning, as many more projects will be undertaken with the cooperation of our two nations. Incidentally, I am aware that President Lee Myung-bak has a personal connection to Papua New Guinea. He visited my country while he was heading Hyundai Engineering and Construction to inspect a dam construction project.

On what particular areas do you believe that Korea and Papua New Guinea should focus their future efforts?

Above all, I believe we should increase personnel exchanges. The Korea Foundation is already carrying out personnel exchanges actively and I know it has invited several persons from Papua New Guinea. Through more of these exchanges, we can get to understand each other better in diverse fields. Korea and Papua New Guinea have long engaged in two-way exchange through various diplomatic channels, and are conducting more and more cooperative projects on the governmental level. To maintain this trend, I think we should increase exchanges further among our people and educational institutions.

To many Koreans, Papua New Guinea still remains a faraway country. What aspects of your country do you believe would appeal to Koreans?

I’d like to emphasize that Papua New Guinea is richer in biological diversity than any other country in the world, thanks to our pollution-free environment. Usually, people refer the Amazon or Africa as treasure houses of ecological resources, but the biodiversity of Papua New Guinea is known to be superior in terms of both quality and quantity. For Korea, which is highly interested in eco-friendly and bio-related industries, and tourism, it is a major advantage that such a country is located not that far away.

Before concluding this interview, is there anything else that you would like to mention?

This has been a very meaningful trip and I learned so much here. I’d like to thank the Korea Foundation for arranging this opportunity. I expect that the Foundation, which has thus far carried out the task of promoting Korea overseas and international exchange in many fields so successfully, will also make a great contribution to enhancing exchanges between Korea and Papua New Guinea.

Text by Kim Bo-ram
Photographs by Kim Hyun-min

copyright 2011 한국국제교류재단 ALL Rights Reserved | 137-072 서울특별시 서초구 남부순환로 2558 외교센터빌딩 10층 | 02-2046-8500 | newsletter@kf.or.kr