Wednesday, October 19, 2005

 

South Africa is disgusted by Korean professor

The South African Embassy in Seoul issued a press release to dismiss an article by kimchiheaded South Korean professor.

[PRESS RELEASE] Embassy's Official Position regarding Prof. Jang's Column

With reference to the article written by Professor Jang Shi-Ki of Dongguk University and posted on the website of the National Association of Professors for Democratic Society (http://www.professornet.org) in Korean the following comment:

The South African Embassy in Seoul do recognize responsible freedom of speech and do accept that academics are entitled to views based on the knowledge and experience they gained over a period of time through research. What we need to guard against is misleading statements and the tendency to apply statements made by leaders out of context as they were made in a specific historical context.

What is, however, difficult to understand is how an academic, after visiting South Africa only two months, can make statements on behalf of South Africans and Africans that are totally distorted from reality.

Statements like “Africans feel more affinity with North Korea than South Korea”, “since the 1960s, the biggest obstacle to the independence of African countries was the US’, and “the struggle with the authoritarian powers in Africa was in fact a fight directed against the outside power of the US” are all totally incorrect statements.

South Africa established diplomatic relations with South Korea in December 1992. Since then the two countries developed very friendly, warm and solid relations. The policy of the South African Government is not to interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs.

We, South Africans, solved our own problems during the negotiations between the National Party Government and the other parties (including the ANC) during the period from 1990 to 1994. It was a peace deal between the various groups of people in South Africa without any outside interference.

It is therefore our belief that the South/North Korea issues should be resolved by the governments and peoples of the two countries. The South African Government is encouraged by the progress made during the latest round of six party talks.

The reference to a South African artist that do find it strange that only South Koreans come to South Africa is a clear indication of the lack of knowledge about the political systems on the Korean peninsula by the sources consulted in South Africa. Apart from official North Korean Government delegations other North Koreans are not allowed by their Government to visit and/or work and reside in South Africa. It is therefore obvious why only South Koreans visit South Africa.

In view of the South African policies and the roles played by President Mbeki and Mr. Mandela, (both worldwide known for their roles in reconciliation and peace efforts through dialogue), their names should not be used in arguments to discredit other countries.


ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY, SEOUL ON 18 OCTOBER 2005


Tel: 02) 792-4855
Fax: 02)792-4856
Email: political@southafrica-embassy.or.kr
http://www.southafrica-embassy.or.kr

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