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00707012
2012.01
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KOREAN

Bolstering Global Leadership through Bilateral Ties  KF Hosts the10th Korea-Germany Forum in Berlin

The Korea foundation conducted the 10th Korea-Germany Forum in Berlin on November 17-18, with the participation of some 50 prominent figures from the two countries. The participants included scholars, politicians, government officials, and journalists. They had extensive discussions on the current political and economic situations of the two nations and ways to promote cultural exchange.

KF Hosts the10th Korea-Germany Forum in Berlin image1 Cooperative Relations
for Mutual Benefits

Germany has long been a role model for Korea. The “Miracle of the Rhine” provided a blueprint for the “Miracle of the Han River” when Koreans struggled to achieve industrialization from the ruins of the Korean War. The process of German reunification, which reflected the free will of people on both sides of the demarcation line, further evoked admiration and praise from the Korean people who, unlike the Germans, had experienced a “complete division.” However, the recent Korea-Germany Forum offered an opportunity to reaffirm that the two countries are now consolidating their horizontal, reciprocal, and complementary partnership as the world’s leading middle powers.

The German participants in the forum appeared to be intrigued by the experiences of Korea, which has grown from an underdeveloped country into one of the leading economies of East Asia, and expressed a hope that Korea’s unique technology will be integrated with that of Germany, a leader in the European region in the area of renewable energy. They also showed a keen interest in hallyu (overseas craze for Korean pop culture), which is stirring up a fresh wind beyond Asia to Europe.

The forum was held at the historic Reichstag building and its annex, which was opened in 1894. Reichstag has housed the parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany since the German federal government relocated the capital from Bonn to Berlin after reunification. The building’s glass dome, which overlooks the main hall below, is said to symbolize the transparency of German politics. It was especially impressive that the walls of the building maintain graffiti written by Soviet troops when they occupied Berlin in 1945. This is a testament to the German attitude to retain historic lessons instead of burying the past.

KF Hosts the10th Korea-Germany Forum in Berlin image2 Emphasis on Environmental Protection
Through presentations and discussions on the first day, the issues of key concern to both nations were revealed in a natural manner. In the political field, the German participants expressed concern about China’s apparent intention to exert growing influence in international politics on the strength of its economic power. In this regard, they called for Korea and Germany to more actively exchange opinions about China-related issues and to closely consult with each other.

In the economic field, much attention was focused on two-way cooperation for the development of renewable energy. At the 2006 Hanover World Fair, this writer was highly impressed by the technology that Germany had adopted in the fields of wind and tidal energy. At the time the fair’s major themes were “renewable energy” and “India.” Now, five years later, Germany has announced long-term plans to phase out all its nuclear power plants in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear power accident in Japan.


This marks a drastic change in the paradigm of Germany’s energy supply and demand, but an emphasis on public safety seems to be the decisive factor in this policy transition. Korea is seeking to become a world leader in green growth, but is also agonizing over the choice of feasible methods. Presenters from both sides agreed that Korea and Germany, both possessing a wealth of advanced technology in many areas, should work together to find optimal solutions.

During the session on cultural exchange, both sides expressed concern that cultural interaction between the two countries has been slowing down lately and agreed on the need to increase opportunities for exchange, especially among specialists and youths.

On the second day, before wrapping up the forum, the participants adopted a set of policy recommendations for the heads of state of both countries. In the afternoon, the group visited Bellevue Palace, the residence of the German president to deliver the policy recommendations to President Christian Wulff. President Wulff welcomed and thanked the group for their insightful efforts.

KF Hosts the10th Korea-Germany Forum in Berlin image3

The 10th Korea-Germany Forum served as an occasion to discuss various issues facing the two countries as they play leading roles in the political, economic, and cultural sectors in their respective continents, as well as to chart ways to strengthen their cooperative relations toward jointly addressing the growing list of global challenges. The forum convinced the participants that if the two nations join hands, they will surely find ways to help create a better world that is more democratic, friendlier to nature, and works more closely together.

Yoo Yoon-jong Culture Editor, The Dong-a Ilbo

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