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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Voices From South Korea: China, Friend or Foe?


Voices From South Korea: China, Friend or Foe?

With Chinese President Hu Jintao visiting Washington and questions over China's support of North Korea in the air, we visited a Seoul train station to ask South Koreans their opinions on China and its behavior. Their translated responses:
Kim Sang Im, 71

Retired farmer
Milyang
I think China is generally a good country in the way that they try to help us negotiate with other countries. As the United States is, China could be a good neighbor to us.
China is a big country with power, so if China can help South Korea than it will be a lot easier to resolve the nuclear issues. However, the way I see it is that China did not decide which countries they would help -- they are meandering. So I think China should be more proactive to help South Korea.
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Baek In Hyuk, 25

Graduate student in medical microbiology
Incheon
Generally, I have a negative view toward China. Everything is mass-produced and they have a lot of imitated products. But at the same time they are a global supplier. I think they have pollution issues, too.
The negative relationship between China and South Korea is mainly due to North Korean issues. China has been too cooperative with North Korea, and I think if there is an attack then China should scold or do something with North Korea.
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Kim Jong Eun, 53

Self-employed businessman
Seoul
I think China has a negative view toward South Korea in terms of politics and military. And I think we have to have more economic exchange and trade with China. South Korea has been playing in a framework centered around the United States, so I think we have to move away from not only the United States but also toward a multilateral framework. We have to really move from confrontation to a cooperative system and dialogue not only for our generation but for the next generation.
As for the kind of role China should play in dealing with North Korea, I think we should not expect China to play a role here because it is up to us to solve these problems. I don't think it's desirable to expect something from other nations.
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Jeon Im Jeong, 23

University student in broadcast communications
Pusan
I think China is a big country and more than that it is a rapidly developing country with huge potential. I like Beijing because I once traveled there. In the morning, people were practicing martial arts and then they drank tea. I think they live in nature and try to stay healthy.
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Song Sun Myeong, 26

University student in urban planning
Seoul
I think China is rapidly rising. However, in terms of ethical and spiritual aspects, I think such things have not been able to catch up with their economic development. I also believe that we have a very close relationship with China and that relationship will be closer.
However, when it comes to political aspects, there are North Korean issues that we need to consider. I think China has been pro-North Korea, but they should change their stance on North Korea and follow the international trend, imposing sanctions if necessary.


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