검색
Contact us | KOREAN

NEWSLETTER

00707012
2012.09
background left image
background right image
background handphone image
background pen image
ENGLISH

‘National Division Can be Korea’s Diplomatic Asset’/Speakers at the KF Public Diplomacy Forum Suggest/Use popular public figures as diplomats; take advantage of Korea’s strategic position between China and Japan; and spread the message of peace through cultural initiatives. These are among the policy suggestions for Korea offered by Professor Jan Melissen at Antwerp University and Professor Nicholas Cull at Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, both world-renowned scholars of public diplomacy, during a roundtable session in Seoul on July 9, organized by the JoongAng Ilbo.

Professors Melissen and Cull visited Seoul to participate in the Korea Public Diplomacy Forum (KPDF), which was held on July 19, under the joint sponsorship by the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, with support from the JoongAng Ilbo. Under the theme of “Opening a New Horizon of Public Diplomacy in the 21st Century: Global Trends and National Strategies,” the forum brought together distinguished scholars and experts of public diplomacy from Korea and abroad to debate directions for the public diplomacy of East Asia, with a focus on South Korea.

The forum consisted of four sessions, which deal with “Global Trends and Middle Power Practices: Implications for Korea” (Session 1), “National Strategies: East Asian Cases” (Session 2), “Korean Public Diplomacy: Knowledge Diplomacy, Culture Diplomacy, and People-to-People Diplomacy” (Session 3), and “Legal and Institutional Suggestions for Korea’s Public Diplomacy” (Session 4). In the final session, the participants examined the public diplomacy strategies of three East Asian countries – Korea, Japan and China – and offered ideas for Korea’s strategic initiatives.

Jan Melissen, Director, Clingendael Diplomatic Research Program, Netherlands Institute of International RelationsThe following are excerpts from the roundtable session, presided over by Kim Woosang, president of the Korea Foundation.

Kim: South Korea recently joined the so-called “20-50 club” (an unofficial term that refers to a group of those countries which have surpassed US$20,000 in per capita income and 50 million in population), as its seventh member. What should be the direction of Korea’s public diplomacy from now?

Melissen: Traditionally, Canada and Norway have been considered representative middle powers. But non-European middle powers are are regarded as increasingly important these days. Ask any ordinary Korean man or woman, and you can see Korea’s characteristics are defined by the North Korean issue and South Korea’s outstanding technological prowess, such as Samsung Electronics’ consumer devices. This is Korea’s power. Korea is special in that it poses no threat to its neighbors. This may seem like a weakness but it can be developed into a strength. In addition, in this multicultural era, immigrants from other countries, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, can become assets for your public diplomacy.

Cull: Today, a nation’s power comes from its management of network and partnership relations. For this, you have to listen carefully to others. Any public speaker who can talk with people and is trusted and favored by the public can be a diplomat. The SNS communication, like British ambassadors twitting on specific topics, can also be an option, rather than stationing an ambassador in every country throughout the world.

Nicholas Cull, Director, Masters Program in Public Diplomacy, University of Southern California/Kazuo Ogura, Secretary General, Tokyo Bid Committee for the 2020 Summer Olympics; Former President, Japan Foundation/Zhu Feng, Professor of International Relations, Peking University

Kim: Hallyu (Korean Wave) and Korea’s economic and democratization model are gaining remarkable recognition, but the “Korea risk” still remains lurking.
Cull: It is nonsense to say that South Korea can’t play its role as a middle power because of the threat from North Korea. When people around the world worry about the future of the Korean Peninsula, Korea can tell its story even more dramatically. Korea is a good example of “peace and reconstruction.” The “sunshine policy” was a huge soft power asset in the international community. K-pop, TV dramas, and taekwondo are all valuable cultural resources that many countries envy, but through these resources Korea should be able to deliver a more powerful story of peace. Korea thus can project an image as a culturally mature nation that is not threatening anyone, comparable India.

Melissen: The world no longer adores Japan, and is disappointed and threatened by China. Korea should take advantage of this atmosphere. Korea’s progressive ODA (official development assistance) programs are a positive step. China’s “Beijing Consensus” represents a similar approach, but I don’t think it is a desirable method of offering aid to remain mute on issues of human rights and democratization under the principle of non-intervention in the internal political affairs of other sovereign states.



◆ Public Diplomacy: Diplomatic activities to disseminate a nation’s “soft power,” proposed by Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University in 2004. Soft power refers to the ability to attract and cooperate rather than coerce, a concept opposed to hard

power represented by economic and might. Knowledge, culture, and people-to-people interactions are among major factors of soft power.

◆ Korea Public Diplomacy Forum (KPDF): An international forum jointly inaugurated by the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2010 to explore ways to advance Korea’s public diplomacy.


Lee Won-jin
Staff Reporter, The JoongAng Ilbo

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