Criticism of Park Geun-hye’s Foreign Language Speeches

President Park Geun-hye has earned a reputation for giving speeches in local languages during her trips abroad: Chinese during a visit to Tsinghua University, French at a meeting with business leaders in France, and English during a speech before the U.S. Congress. In response, the head of the opposition party recently criticized Park’s decision not to use Korean. Netizens were split between seeing speeches in the local language as a logical strategy to promote diplomacy or as an embarrassing and pointless gimmick.

President Park gave a speech in English at a joint session of the United States Congress on May 8, 2013.

President Park gave a speech in English at a joint session of the United States Congress on May 8, 2013.

Article from Hankook Ilbo:

Opposition party leader criticized President Park’s foreign language speeches

Foreign Ministry officials say there are no rules for languages during speeches but leader typically uses mother tongue for summit meetings.

The main opposition Democratic Party leader Kim Han-gil has criticized President Park for giving speeches in foreign languages while she is traveling abroad, a critical comment after President Park has been in the limelight for her language fluency.

In a meeting with university students at a hall within the National Assembly on October 8, Kim said, “A president representing South Korea should use Korean as his or her official language… Some citizens may feel proud when they see President Park delivering speeches in Chinese, French and English while she was on state visits in China, France, and the United States. But there is a need to rethink this.”

Does the lawmaker make a reasonable criticism or is he just trying to find fault with Park? President Park has demonstrated her language flair during her foreign tours.

In May this year, Park gave a thirty-minute speech at a joint session of the United States Congress, leading to a big round of applause from U.S. legislators.

In June, when Park paid a state visit to China, she headed to Tsinghua University, where she spoke in Chinese during the greeting and conclusion of her twenty-minute address, drawing an enthusiastic response from the audience.

On the most recent occasion, President Park talked in French during a meeting with business leaders for about twenty minutes on Oct. 4 when she was in France as part of her Western European tour. She was praised for her accurate French pronunciation. In 1974, Park briefly studied abroad in France.

Keeping track of speech records of former presidents does not provide a definite answer as to what language a South Korean president should use during a state visit.

Many past presidents gave speeches in English to the U.S. Congress. President Lee Sung-man, Roh Tae-woo and Kim Dae-jung spoke in English for addresses in 1954, 1989 and 1998 respectively while Kim Young-sam and Lee Myung-bak used Korean language for speeches, which was interpreted into foreign languages.

Former President Lee Myung-bak, however, stressed in English the importance of free trade and market opening at a summit luncheon for leaders of the group of twenty advanced and emerging countries (G-20) in Washington in 2008. That speech attracted surprised applause from the attended leaders.

President Park delivered a speech in Chinese at Tsinghua University on June 28, 2013

President Park delivered a speech in Chinese at Tsinghua University on June 28, 2013

Diplomatic protocols indicate no rules for the language of a speech.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said, “Speaking in the local language of a country during a presidential visits offers the president an opportunity to give a much more personable impression to the audience as it is more effective in getting an intended message across.”

Ultimately, the circumstances determine what language a president will use.

In contrast to presidential addresses, for summit talks there is a practice that a president should use his or her mother language with a interpreter attending as the magnitude of a summit meeting requires accuracy in delivering opinions.

Another MOFA official said, “speeches and summit meetings are starkly different, as the former emphasizes empathy with an audience while the latter is an official talk or negotiation where even a single word from a leader could vastly affect vital national interests.”

President Park gave a speech in French at a business forum in France on Oct. 4, 2013

President Park gave a speech in French at a business forum in France on Oct. 4, 2013

Comments From Naver:

azaz****:

President Park did well. Kim finds faults with trivial things. What an inferiority complex.

zenp****:

His comment explains why approval ratings for the opposition Democratic Party amount to less than half of the governing Saenuri Party’s.

yarn****::

Come on you dumb geezer, Han-gil!! Go have a sit-in protest on the street!!

kelv****:

Now Kim takes issue with irrelevant things, ke ke. Aren’t you jealous of her because you are ignorant? All you’ve done after all is protesting on the streets for your great revolution. Please educate yourself and do your job, nimwit.

swle****:

Critics are out of their mind. It’s the 21st century!

sljc****:

When Hollywood stars visit Korea and say a few words in Korean, that gives a friendly impression. You ****s, that’s why she uses foreign languages… To make a good impression..

ym20****:

Han-gil is just barking out as a novelist. Woof woof.

moos****:

Please stop with the emotional factionism. I hope we can establish a political environment where we praise what she’s done well and also criticize her faults with no reservation. A great portion of these Internet comments are meaningless. “I hate whatever you do for no reasons.” Opposition for the sake of opposition. Insulting comments without minimal courtesy, comments invoking regionalism, etc. The politicians should look back on their behavior and the people who write subpar comments worse than what elementary school students would write should quit their antics.

juen****:

Then what about Nuke Dae-jung who gave a speech in English in America? According to Han-gil’s argument, Roh Mu-hyun who was the most ignorant and incompetent takes the cake, ke ke ke.

hosa****:

Giving speeches in foreign languages is ok if the speaker is as fluent in that language as he or she is in the mother tongue. Otherwise, for speeches on sensitive issues and specialized areas, making a mother-tongue speech would reduce misunderstanding. Small talk and greetings in the local language could be alright for developing friendly ties with other side.

Comments From Daum:

석공:

Just saying greetings is enough to give a friendly impression. What the hell is she doing now? It’s a shame to see a person who was elected as the leader of our nation getting obsessed with showing off personal talent.

포터:

She must think she’s on holiday!. Typical for image-centric politics!

MFHEE:

Only the late former President Roh Moo-hyun spoke in Korean consistently. I am so proud of him.

황금사자:

President Park just did it to show she is knowledgeable because she has been teased as an ignorant chicken brain. Actually, she’s just an idiot bitch speaking garbage English words in the middle of a presentation in order to show off. That chicken-brain president bitch has no pride at all. A big shame for our country.

남환희:

Ms. Park sold national pride to show off her lousy foreign language ability.

진정한:

Stop strutting in your fancy clothes, use interpreters and stop using foreign languages at such an elementary level. You can just say greetings in the foreign language. Without substance in speeches, using foreign languages never makes a difference.

wodydwjd:

The problem is she is not good at speaking in Korean. She just clams up whenever there is not a script for her.

knight:

Using a mother tongue is desirable because it represents the country. All the more so for a president who is the public face of a nation. The legitimacy and representation of a country takes priority over expressing friendship. Friendship is sufficiently expressed to a visiting country with opening greetings and the closing comment in a speech. Think of a foreign leader on a visit to South Korea. The leader can show favorable attitudes toward South Korea just by speaking in Korean for the opening and closing part of a speech. [ …]

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  • Balkan

    It seems to me that whatever Ms. Park did, she would be wrong in the eyes of Korean people who dislike her. If she had spoken Korean, they would have said that she was uneducated and that she had embarrassed Korea. I do not understand Koreans. Are the shoe brand Ms Park wears or that she speaks Chinese, French and English the biggest problems in Korea? If so, they are a lucky nation!

    • Hoo

      Holy crap, this is like saying you don’t understand Americans after reading some bad Yahoo! comments.

      Making a big deal out of nothing.

  • KCdude

    I have a huge problem with her oversea speeches. It’s not because of the language issues. It’s that her speeches are too positive for my taste. A good speech to a foreign leader is usually mixed with both positive and negative sentiments. Her speeches to them are too positive. They don’t sound realistic.

  • UserID01

    Holy shit, can she do no right at all? It’s extremely beneficial for a head of state to be fluent in another language, especially if they’re fluent in the language of a foreign nation they’re visiting. It’s like an English-speaker going to Romania and being upset that nobody in Romania speaks English. It’s just good manners to know a few key phrases to help you communicate. She’s skilled enough to speak several languages, especially languages for countries she’s visiting, and somehow people find fault with this. What incredible immaturity.

    • Akatosh

      koreans find fault everywhere. They claim that their socalled dokdo islands belong to them when it does not.

      • Hsotaka

        0/10

      • UserID01

        What does this have to do with “fault” rather than “geopolitics?”

  • Regressive nationalism at its finest. This reminds me of when conservatives used Kerry’s French-language skills against him, as if speaking a foreign language makes him less of a patriot. [/facepalm]

    It’s not like she uses English, Chinese, and French with Korean audiences (ala Jon Huntsman, Jr. using some Chinese at a US Republican presidential debate, which was admittedly a bizarre moment).

    • What’s wrong with nationalism?

      You missed the subtlety of the Kerry slur- I think it is more a comment on Franco-American relations and “what the French choose to stand for morally” versus “what the Americans choose to stand for morally” rather than just “hey all other cultures are bad ‘cept us, lol.” Also, America is an immigrant nation- to become American, one must shed one’s (typically European, at least for quite a while) former heritage, or this was true at one time. It’s more complicated and subtle than you think it is. Maybe.

      • harvz

        You had me up until “what’s wrong with nationalism? “

        • I’m serious. Explain it to me.

      • Well, nationalism is just a form of collectivized self-identity, and as such, there’s nothing inherently pernicious about it. The problem is that just as humans are naturally predisposed toward mercilessly advancing their own self-interests at the expense of others without the inhibitor of civilization, so, too, are nations predisposed toward mercilessly advancing their own self-interests at the expense of others without the inhibitor of a consciousness of common human identity.

        Aside from the fact that it tends to gravitate toward militarism, it is also predicated on the fictional narrative of a pure national identity that has never really existed but to which the entire nation is nonetheless expected to aspire. “France” is an artificial concept built on linguistic genocide. “Spain” is as well, though the process of linguistic genocide has recently been stalled by a modern European appreciation for its own indigenous cultures, which naturally exist as a vast and diverse multidimensional spectrum rather than as single clusters of cultural homogeneity. Human civilization is the aggregate of thousands of years of evolution, and nationalism––itself a modern development––attempts to put a cap on it and freeze its identity as if it were a museum exhibit not to be tarnished.

        Nationalism isn’t necessarily “wrong”, but it’s certainly antithetical to individual liberty.

        • Thanks for responding to me seriously. I suppose I agree with most of your points, but I really don’t like the idea of an international governing power, which is essentially what it seems to me you are advocating. Correct me if I’m wrong. A babysitter of nations, the U.N., or whatever else, seems to me to just solve the problem of nationalism by advancing super-nationalism, if that makes sense. It’s kind of a never-ending problem, no?
          It seems to me that what has solved this problem in the past was religion. Now, I’m an atheist, but as religions go, I would have to say Christianity or Buddhism (or maybe Zoroastrianism or the Baha’i faith or something vaguely similar) would not be a bad substitute for “global consciousness of shared humanity.” No? At least, hopefully not Islam (ha) and probably not paganism or polytheism either.
          Or what about a nationalism that values individual freedom, if such a thing exists? A philosophical nationalism?
          I’m no fan of the French, believe me, but I would not go so far as to denigrate the whole French nation as a mere project of “linguistic genocide” although that did give me a cheap laugh at the expense of the French.

          • I wouldn’t say religion had solved this problem in the past, so much as that it had preceded nationalism as an equally destructive force. Europe was plenty violent before the advent of nationalism in the 18th century.

            I would say that a certain strand of modern-day, American-styled Christianity could hypothetically manifest in global peace and harmony; I’m of course not referring to the self-righteous blowhards with messianic complexes who take pleasure in morally condemning others, but rather the more “peace & love” sort who listen to sappy contemporary Christian rock music and do volunteer trips to poor third world countries to feel good about themselves. They’re generally nice and decent people, and I’ve thought on a number of occasions whilst attending these sorts of church services, especially during the musical worship segments, that the entire world would benefit from being exposed to this peaceful message of universal love, even if it’s based on a theological premise that’s probably false.

            Besides religion, materialism is another peaceful substitute for nationalism. Those who value financial wealth above all else tend not to sympathize with the lowly masses who sustain themselves on sheepish notions of national unity and shared national struggle, often jeopardizing the vitality of financial markets and long-term economic development with the unpredictable chaos of their jingoistic fervor.

          • I’ll just go ahead and be completely politically incorrect and point out that not all religions are equal and Christianity, while it has probably been spread via violence at certain points in history and this has been exaggerated in the name of cultural relativism, was actually far more likely to be spread through missionary work that was essentially peaceful. It was not quite as bad as you suggest- after all, every convert is a soul saved for God, so we must not, say, indiscriminately kill all the infidels like in, oh, some other religions.

            But yeah, I’m just throwing around ideas, I am an atheist and can’t really in good consciousness recommend worldwide revival of Christendom. It would be an acceptable second choice, though.

            Now you’re sounding a bit like a marxist, talking about social classes dividing and conquering people. I think it’s clear that nationalism is indeed more powerful than class consciousness and so far the fantasy global workers revolution has utterly failed to manifest. I do think it’s likely that global capitalism is still in the “progressive stage” at present, so who knows, maybe in 300 years long after we are all dead, old great-great-grandpa Marx really will have the last laugh.

          • I didn’t say anything about class warfare. I simply pointed out that money-oriented people don’t really give a damn about the whole nationalism thing. Rich CEOs in the US export US jobs to China. Rich government officials in China send their kids to the US and buy houses there. Both tend to have a very low opinion of their own masses of countrymen. I don’t think it’s Marxist to point this out. I didn’t condemn materialism; I merely pointed out how it can be a force for global peace, since those focusing on wealth creation tend to abstain from the sort of risky and reckless behaviors that characterize nationalistic zealots.

            I don’t see how you can look at the genocide of the Amerindians and the genocide of the Australian aborigines and characterize that as peaceful. Tendencies toward violence and peace are a matter of cultural traditions and social values, not theology. Islam is today violent principally because of anti-Western political xenophobia. The Arab-Jewish question is primarily a matter of tribalism.

          • Yes, but you are dividing people by class, and you unintentionally perhaps, echo marxist thought when you do that. There are only so many ways to divide people- religion, language, race, gender and so on, and class is really the marxist one, you see. There is only a necessarily very small number of people who can live “borderlessly” in the way you describe.

            I won’t speak for the Australian aborigines, but I would not characterize the displacement of the Native American Indian tribes as “genocide.” I don’t really have time for an extended argument, but it is my opinion that in all by a vanishing small number of instances, efforts were made to peacefully convert the Indians before warfare came into it, at least in what is now the U.S. I fundamentally disagree with you about Christianity and Islam, but again, that’s another very long argument that we might as well skip. I do not subscribe to cultural relativism; I believe that ideology and culture quite simply ARE the driving forces of history, and that for instance, the U.S. government would not have taken the shape it did without a thorough underlying Christian-influenced philosophy and worldview, which values quite different things from an Islamic worldview.

            You sound like a marxist even more when you blame Islamic extremism on Western intervention in the middle east, but I won’t accuse you of really being one, I’m just amused by the coincidence. Let’s just say I disagree. I would say the Arab-Jewish question is primarily a function of two very different philosophies, if that is what you mean by “tribalism.”

          • I never mentioned “class”. I simply acknowledged that some are rich and others are not. That is reality. And those who live comfortably and have much to lose are not interested in pursuing destruction. I fail to see how this is “Marxist”; I am essentially defending rich people, and suggesting the world would be more stable and peaceful if poor people shared their focus on acquiring wealth. What could possibly be more capitalist than that?

            Likewise, you completely misinterpreted my point about culture. I never said culture wasn’t the driving force of history; I said it WAS the driving force of history, as opposed to theology (which is the only thing that separates Christianity in and of itself from Islam in and of itself). That is the complete opposite of “cultural relativism”. At best, it’s “theological relativism”, by pointing out that even a violent culture can use an enlightened theological framework for the purpose of propagating violence.

            Your accusation of me blaming Islamic extremism on Western intervention in the Middle East is even more of an out-of-nowhere oddity. When did I ever say anything about Western intervention in the Middle East? I said the Muslim world is culturally xenophobic and politically anti-Western. Extending that logic would imply that if I were to accuse the Nazis of having been xenophobic and anti-Semitic, I’m really blaming Nazi extremism on Jewish interference in Germany.

            I can’t help but feel like you’re conducting an argument with an imaginary person, rather than reading what I’m actually typing.

          • Well, yes, you did say some are rich and others are not. Is that not pretty much the same thing as mentioning class in so many words?

            I would agree with you, but in a slightly different way- I think a rising global middle class would help world peace immensely, rather than a rising “elite” class. Your original picture was one of a world in which most are nationalistic poor brutes and only a lucky few are rich. The missing ingredient there is the middle class, which is indeed a progressive force arising from global capitalism. You may not think of that as “marxist” but actually Marx was in favor of capitalism, seeing it as an improvement over feudalism and tribalism- he just thought something even better would come next, and wanted to rush prematurely into it. Hence my joke about 300 years from now.

            I fail to make a distinction between religion and culture- to me they are one and the same. “Culture” to me is any sort of philosophy, secular or not, hence, I lump Christianity and Islam together under culture. When I say I’m not a relativist, I mean I don’t subscribe to the idea that all cultures are equally bad and good.

            This is where I got that Western intervention bit: “Islam is today violent principally because of anti-Western political xenophobia.” I read into that “Western political involvement.” You know, the people who think Bush caused everything, and 9/11 was blowback? That sort of thing.

          • I didn’t say “middle class” because there are millions of people who are in the lower rungs of the middle class and are still aggressively jingoistic and/or xenophobic. I was thinking of folks like the average well-to-do citizen in Hong Kong or Singapore, where they have enough material comforts to not be concerned with starting wars or holding anti-foreigner rallies. Of course, when the economy goes downhill, shit hits the fan quickly for those without a safety net, which is why I didn’t mention the middle class, much of which is just one layoff away from falling into poverty.

            Most religious adherents are not theologically aware, and thus I blame their flaws on their own cultures rather than the theologies they nominally profess to live by. For example, if a “Christian” justifies racism or homosexuality, I do not consider this offense to tarnish the reputation of Christianity, which as a pure entity I think ought to be defined by the Bible rather than the cultural shortcomings of some its adherents. There is no “cultural relativism” in cutting Islam some slack and placing the bulk of the blame on Middle Eastern cultures themselves. Arab Christians are not necessarily such an enlightened bunch.

          • Would I be right in guessing that your main concern with “nationalism” is pretty specifically limited to East Asian nationalism? I think it would be helpful to clarify, because I don’t really hear much about, say, huge problems with jingoistic Chilean nationalism these days. That may be because I’m hopelessly under informed about Latin America, granted, but it does seem that East Asia in particular is really the “nexus” of problematic (and to me, nationalism is really only problematic if it means “potentially starting wars” which I think is what you’re getting it, maybe) nation state nationalism in the world today. It would be useful to clarify what in particular distinguishes Japanese or Korean or Chinese nationalism, if possible.
            Jingoism and xenophobia, as well as racism, to me are not synonymous with all nationalism, which already is itself a rather broad category roughly meaning something like “how people choose to organize themselves into groups based on any number of common characteristics.”
            Poverty is definitely one factor that may lead to nationalism and war, in some cases, but maybe not in all cases in history. I do think there is a very good case that some wars in history were in fact started by well-fed people who just wanted “glory for the king” or something or other. Certainly in Europe, and maybe in ancient east Asian history as well, but I am not really well-informed enough to say. For instance, I think it is hard to argue that WW1 was caused by anything but incredibly stupidity, warring empires, imperialism, and self-reinforcing fear. And the world even back then was essentially fully “modern” or not far behind us now. People also thought “the world is too economically interlinked to ever go to war” and that didn’t turn out to be true, either. Not to be a pessimist or anything. It would be nice if well-fed people never quarreled, and they certainly probably quarrel less.
            As to your point about distinguishing religion from shifting cultural interpretation of it, I agree, and that makes sense. Unfortunately, in my case, I am going to have to say I renounce both “true Islam” in the Qur’an and so on, and Arab culture. Neither one is really worth writing home about. If that makes me an evil cultural supremacist, well, so be it. I have some vague hopes for Islamic reform, but not many. It seems to me that even in a more or less “culturally modern” nation state like Turkey, Islam itself, when interpreted literally, drags everything backwards into the dust anyway.

            Anyway, I think I understand your point: You want world peace. Admirable. So do I and hopefully, most normal people everywhere. There are many ideas people have put forward to achieve this:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_peace

            Eradicating nationalism is one of them. That’s why I asked you to be more specific. Because I think “nationalism” is a bit vague. We would have to really look at what that actually means in practice more carefully. Does it mean eradicating all languages except one language? (Or the system we have now, wherein there is a lingua franca but a number of other major languages?) Does it mean dissolving all borders? Does it mean erasing history books so people don’t hold grudges? Is any of that realistic or useful? And so on.

            As far as I can see, there are many competing ideas for world peace, but the most major are:

            -The U.N. or other international bodies like the E.U., etc.
            -Global Christendom and Christian values (honestly has a pretty good shot of achieving genuine world peace if you ask me, even if it’s objectively wrong. That’s why I defend Christianity, because I think it has done good things for the world and may not be done doing good things for the world. I mean, look at this map of Christendom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christian_distribution.png )
            -Global communism (please let this terrible idea be dead)
            -A global Caliphate or Islamic state (please no)
            -Global capitalism, rising prosperity, alleviating poverty, materialism, free trade between nations(a very good idea, but I think sometimes even materialistic people kill each other for no reason, and maybe this would just mean they more easily get bigger guns to do so. Still a good idea anyway, because people shouldn’t live in poverty.)

            I think those are really the major ones.

          • Well, yes, you did say some are rich and some are poor. Is that not the same thing as mentioning class in so many words?

            I would agree that a rising middle class would help world peace immensely rather than a rising “elite” class, your original picture was one of a world in which most are nationalistic brutes and only a lucky few are rich. The missing element is the middle class, a progressive force arising from global capitalism. Surprisingly, Marx was in favor of capitalism, seeing it as an improvement over feudalism and tribalism. He just wanted to skip to an even better next step rather prematurely, as we can see from the history of the 20th century. Hence my joke about 300 years from now. It’s a joke.

            I fail to make a distinction between religion and culture, to me they are one and they same- any philosophy about how to organize a society, religious or secular, is “culture” to me. When I say I’m not a relativist I just mean I do not believe all cultures are equally good and bad; some are superior.

            Where I got Western interventionism- I extrapolated it from this : “Islam is today violent principally because of anti-Western political xenophobia.” I just assumed you were one of those who thinks 9/11 and the like was blowback from training rebels in Afghanistan or whatever- there are a lot of them.

    • KCdude

      All that I understand is that nationalism defeats the true purpose and nature of political Conservatism. This is true. I’m a Conservative.

      • Good point. Nationalism gravitates toward fascism, and fascism is inherently statist. The problem is that conservatism in the US is characterized as “right-wing”, even though American right-wing ideology is practically antithetical to European right-wing ideology in many respects. American conservatism (of the libertarian flavor, as opposed to neoconservatism) values the complete freedom of the individual, whereas nationalism manifests in pooling the efforts of a nation’s citizens together for the sake of the nation (and therefore its central government).

        • KCdude

          Most Koreans in Korea or outside of Korea will, most likely, never understand this truth. Most Koreans here sound like nationalists as well as like neocons, Bush style. It’s rather unfortunate if you think about it.

  • MyMotto

    God damn I dont know what shes doing, but she just cant win. Speaking that many languages, not sure whether or not she fluent, but thats an impressive and valuable skill. Especially for a politician who gives speeches internationally. I live in America and the majority of ppl have no interest in anything that isnt English, it sucks but its the truth.

    Assuming shes doing a good job speaking shes reaching a larger audience.

  • chucky3176

    First it was her father. Then it was her mother. Then it was her purse. Then it was her shoes. Now it’s her foreign speeches.

    You see the pattern?

    Lot of left of the political spectrum Koreans simply don’t like her, so they nit pick on her for everything.

    It has very little to do with anything else, Matt.

    • hear hear

    • Akatosh

      koreans are like that, always complaining but too weak and timid to act. It is no wonder China calls Goryeo a ‘fake’. Face it south korea, without USA China and japan your country would still be in the 3rd world.

      • Have a nice day!

        awwww… what’s the matter? you butt hurting over something… you jelly of Korea?

        LOL

  • That’s marvelous

    What is this? We need Dennis Rodman to finish his play-date with KJU, so we can get some real polinews again.

  • bigmamat

    Looks like she’s in the same situation as the first American black president. If they can’t find something wrong then her detractors will find something to complain about.

    • takasar1

      bad comparison.

      • bigmamat

        Sorry I forgot that Korean government was just chock full of women representatives. My bad. Did LMB wear the wrong shoes too?

        • takasar1

          its ok. i’m guessing strong mental faculties are not exactly your strongest aspect. comparing anyone to an incompetent is never a good idea.

          • bigmamat

            No but it certainly isn’t part of my mental problems to worry about what kind of cross trainers my president is wearing. Even if they were made in Iraq I’m not sure if I could stretch that image far enough to suggest that he supports terrorism.

          • takasar1

            yes but it is part of your problems to think obama has done nothing wrong

          • bigmamat

            So now we’re talking about Obama. I see. Here’s the problem, genuine problems with his policy objectives, management style or choices for cabinet posts, judicial appointments, whatever are fine. I’ve got no problem with disagreement when it is productive and rational. People still claiming that he’s not a U.S. citizen, that he’s Muslim or that he has some kind of agenda to “destroy America” are not just irrational they are delusional.

    • Sillian

      If you are implying that this is because she’s the first female Korean president, let me tell you it wasn’t very different for LMB. LMB was shredded to pieces by left wing peeps.

    • chucky3176

      It’s not because she’s a woman. It’s her politics, the Conservatism, and she being daughter of Park Jung Hee who’s considered a brutal dictator. The Liberals complain that the Conservatives are neo-dictatorship. The Conservatives complain that the Liberals are North Korean commie lovers. And both of them will point fingers at each other by coming up with the most stupidest reasons to pick on. It’s par for the course, but the Koreans who lean towards the centralist views, are often left with scratching their heads wondering who’s right. Korea is a very politically polarized country for some time now, and the ongoing struggle between the two groups is getting worse.

      • KCdude

        Countries with an elected political leader who has an enormous executive power tend to have a form of polarized partisan politics. So called the separation of three powers (삼권분립 in Korean) does not work in real practice.

  • commander

    With almost all comments favorably viewing President Park’s foreign languages speeches during her state visits overseas, a more heated debate raises the need for me to play the devil’s advocate.

    Mutiple language proficiency itself is praiseworhthy and instrumental in striking up a conversation with foreign leaders a South Korean president meey with.

    But the problem with that language fluency demonstration by President Park is that that behavior can be seen as subservient by some South Koreans.

    In that view, Park’s addresses in foreign languages is a kind of abandonment of supreme diginity of the nation, courting strong powers.

    This view is reinforced amid the presidential repeated rejection of calls from the opposition parties for a thorough investigation for the alleged meddling by the intelligence agency in the presidential election in 2012.

    Opposition politicians are concerned that Park’s summit diplomacy, drawing much coverage over her fashion and, in their eyes, not so good language ability, may overshadow their calls for the probe and overhaul of the nation’s spy agency.

    On top of this political consideration, the Korean Peninsula has been enormously swayed by power politics between neighboring strong powers.

    This geopolitical environment still make South Koreans feel their country is a weak country. But this perception faces a dramatic turn when South Korea’s international presence is growing economically and culturally.

    Seoul’s bigger foot print on the global stage generate the view that South Korea needs to show more confidence on the international stage.

    Some people think by extension that a South Korean president needs to exude more confidence during summit meetings with foriegn leaders. In this case, speaking confidently of South Korea’s stances on international matters could display its exuberance.

    Cheng Wa Dae’s suspected bid to water down political standoff over the persisent calls for a reformed intelligence agency after the investigation by means of public relations campaign, and amplified self-esteem of South Koreans for their country have been the background of the criticism for Park’s foreign language speeches.

    • KCdude

      “But this perception faces a dramatic turn when South Korea’s international presence is growing economically and culturally.”

      With the leading political party becoming too paranoid about North Korean collaborators in their own home turf, I don’t think what you said specifically about this is true. It sounds like Korea is becoming famous for the very wrong purpose. Sorry. I cannot understand why you said this.

      Attention-seeking in a global stage doesn’t look nice. I also don’t like my country, Canada, is becoming a big fat strange attention seeker thanks to Harper.

      God save the Queen.

      (I don’t mind anyone voting down my comment. So, please do so. I don’t consider myself a proud ethnic Korean anyway. I believe strongly that pride due to blood or ethnic association is very evil and unethical. Also ethnic nationalism is against my belief in political Conservatism.)

  • Mighty曹

    I’m shocked that she hasn’t been accused of using Sheseido products. Yet.

  • Johnny Foreigner

    Credit to her. The amount of money Koreans spend on learning English without much success is ridiculous. If she is able to speak to the Chinese, French or English-speaking world in their tongue, why not?

    It’s not like anyone outside of this country actually speaks Korean anyway.

  • KCdude

    It sounds like having an elected powerful president (just like in the USA) doesn’t work in South Korea.

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/11/10/south-korean-media-whitewashes-presidents-european-trip/

    I now believe that true Conservatism doesn’t work in countries like the USA and Korea. Long live the Westminster System! (And long live the Queen, of course)

  • BSDetector

    I like her decision; shows diversity in thinking and has an air of education to garner respect. Kim Han Gil respresents the isolationalist Korean who believe official visitors should wear Hanbok to “experience Korea” and at the same time officials abroad are bound to “sell the Korean experience”.
    When in Rome…

  • bultak23

    don’t mind the complainers, they are the kind of people that when they see beautiful roses, all they can do is complain about the thorns.

  • seekjho

    Japanese ministers can’t do half of what Park Geun Hye can do, ha.

  • Dark

    What’s wrong with fucking Koreans. It’s a sign of global fluidity if a head of a country delivers a speech in the local language (if they can pull it off, and very few people can). This hermit kingdom mentality should have died out long ago.

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