Prof. univ. dr. Ionuţ PURICA
A nation that started after the Korean war with 81 USD per capita to reach these days 28,000 USD/capita.
A nation that understood the value of planning and of developing the necessary industries both for the internal economy and for export.
A nation that understands the value of peace even if it is under the threat of nuclear missiles from the North of the peninsula.
A nation that developed a full nuclear cycle peaceful domain and it is now able to export small modular reactors of its own design.
A nation with a culture having its roots in the old time Gogurieo kingdoms that were exposed to the Tang dynasty’s various types of pressures.
This is South Korea.
Looking around me I realize that my smart phone and TV set are made by Samsung, my car is made by KIA and the factory where I had started working as a nuclear energy engineer is now DOSAN.
Smart city – the future is nowI would be very happy if a common citizen of Seoul would be able to identify some Romanian made product in his living environment (e.g. a computer protection software like Bitdefender).
The Samsung Innovation Museum is a great example on how, through dedication and perseverance as well as through educating its own personnel, Samsung achieved a global presence in the electronic world and not only.
Maybe in a near future we would hear about space missions from South Korea with missiles build by the country’s economy and, who knows, a Moon landing.
Coming back to Earth the development of the smart cities having controlled social environments and clean transportation and energy supply is catching speed achieving a superb blending of old architecture with new buildings and transportation systems.
60 km North of Seoul is the border with North Korea. Pamunjon is actually a Joint Security Area not just a line border. Looking toward the North Korean part I could see a white building, beyond the blue cabins where the border actually lays, that reminded me of the building of the North Korean Embassy in Bucharest – probably they used a standard layout for the constructions.
Joint Security Area – the border
I was joking that in the blue cabin I had stayed for 30 seconds in the North Korean side then I had defected to the South by passing to the South Korean side of the cabin. Obviously there were only South Koreans in the cabin at the time of the visit.
Imperial palace Seoul
One is wondering how such a creative people that the Koreans are (all Koreans) could be polarized into developing a great economy in the South and nuclear weapons in the North. One should imagine a united Korea with the economic power of the South and the nuclear power of the North.
The history of Seoul as a capital and as a vibrant city is impressive and visiting the royal palace as well as the museums, including the one with present days electronic environment, gives a great vision thru the ages from the specific animals on the corner of the roof protecting the house to the electronic image mixing with reality protecting the spirit of present days youngsters.
The economy though is based in the present and viewing the future for this the National Bank of Korea and the stock exchange are key institutions in Korea.
Talking about the youth it seems that the process that I had seen in Europe is happening in Korea too: the first generation after the war was starting to rebuild; the second generation finished the rebuilding, while the third generation came in a world where everything is available without too much effort and the values of life are changing from the ones of the previous generations. Will the young Koreans find the force for a continuous develop-ment in the country or will they go to the World and clash with other people from other economies? What other scenarios for development is one to consider in order to keep the pace of development? Questions under scrutiny these days probably not only in Korea.
Seeing all this and interacting with some of the most experienced persons that have contributed to creating today’s South Korea gives a unique image of this incredible country.
It is a privilege and a one in a lifetime experience to be exposed to the Korean economy, culture and spirit all at the same time. My personal deep thanks to the Korea Foundation for making this possible.
Member of Academy of Romanian Scientists, Former President of the Romanian Nuclear Agency