Friday, June 06, 2008

Gov’t Tells US to Speak Carefully

The Maeil Gyeongje reports that the government, fearing that comments by US figures could spark anti-American sentiment, has through diplomatic channels has asked the United States to speak and act carefully.

A government source said the government explained to the US embassy yesterday that Ambassador Alexander Vershbow’s comments to the press following his meeting with Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan had angered Korean politicians and worsened public opinion.

The government is concerned that imprudent statements by US figures could transform the current protests into ones of an anti-American character.

Marmot’s Note: Bluntly speaking,


I have an idea. Instead of lecturing the US embassy, how about telling UDP chairman Sohn Hak-kyu to hire a decent translator, seeing how all those years at Oxford weren’t enough.

Seriously, given how YOU are backing out of an agreement YOU made with the United States due to manufactured fears that could cost US exporters millions, shouldn’t it be KOREAN figures speaking carefully? With the FTA as good as dead and Congressional Democrats openly talking about resurrecting Super 301, shouldn’t it be the KOREAN side fearing anti-Korean sentiment in the United States?

Frankly, I’m left speechless. If anything, apologies should be made to the ambassador for mangling his statements. I guess that won’t happen.

UPDATE: US Beef isn’t a safety issue. Now it’s a cultural issue!

At a face-to-face meeting today, GNP chairman Kang Jae-sup told Ambassador Vershbow that “in Korea, beef is not simply a product; our people’s unique sentiment, which cannot be explained with science, permeates beef.”

He added, “I think the American people, US government and you must understand our unique culture… In order to resolve this, both governments need to work with sincerity.”

In the original Korean:

강 대표는 “쇠고기라는 것은 우리나라에서는 단순한 상품이 아니고 과학으로는 설명할 수 없는, 독특한 우리 국민의 정서가 쇠고기에 스며들어있다”고 설명했다.

또 “우리 독특한 문화를 미국민들, 미국 정부가, 그리고 대사께서 잘 이해해야 한다고 생각한다”며 “이것을 해결하기 위해서 양국정부가 성의를 갖고 노력을 해야 한다”고 강조했습니다.

I should count myself fortunate that no coffee was in my proximity when I read that, since it would have been thrown at my computer monitor.

Ambassador Vershbow responded by saying he understood what position this issue occupies in Korean culture, and that he is working with Seoul and Washington to resolve the issue.

Kang also told the ambassador that since he lives here and experiences directly the situation in Korea, everything he says provides important information to the US government (or, in other words, please be careful of what you say, since it directly influences what Washington thinks), and asked him to lead a solution to the beef issue.

Oh, and Yonsei University canceled an address Ambassador Vershbow was supposed to give today.

Seriously, I need to go back to posting photographs of old buildings. This bullshit is going to give me a fucking aneurysm.

No comments: