The Asian country was immersed in poverty in the 50s, from there it had a vertiginous economic growth. He bet on education. Implemented a cooperation scheme between academia, government and private enterprise.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7, Carondelet receives a momentous visit: South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon will hold a bilateral meeting with President Moreno. It is the first time, in the 57 years of diplomatic relations with that country, that a visit is given to that level.
On behalf of Ecuador, two presidents have arrived in Seoul: Noboa, in 2002, and Correa, in 2010. Prime Minister Lee will arrive at the Mariscal Sucre Airport this afternoon at 17:40, where he will be received with the formal ceremony of rigor by Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner.
Let’s do a little memory to know what we are talking about when we refer to South Korea. From 1910 to 1945, the Korean peninsula was a colony of Japan, suffering painful hardships that marked its population. At the end of World War II, Japan was evicted by the USSR in the north and by the USA. in the south, and an autonomous regime was established on each side.
The north, led by Kim Il-sung, grandfather of the current North Korean dictator, with the support of the USSR and China, invaded the south and there was a fratricidal war between 1950 and 1953, with more than 3 million and a half deaths, practically another holocaust.
At this time the friendship relationship between South Korea and Ecuador began. The nascent United Nations Organization (UN) issued resolutions condemning the invasion and demanding the withdrawal of Kim Il-sung’s troops.
Ecuador was a member of the Security Council and gave its support to South Korea, in addition to sending 500 tons of food and medicines to this destination during the war period. North Korea signed an armistice with the UN in 1953, agreeing on the division in the 38th parallel, which has become an allegory of the Cold War, which persists in Korea.
Today, with the grandson of Kim Il-sung, we are witnessing, just 66 years later, the definitive peace talks, where President Moon Jae-in has had a preponderant, though invisible, role. In the 1950s, South Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world, more than any of the Latin Americans.
Since then he has staged a vertiginous rise that, despite the devastation suffered as a result of the war, has transformed it into an economic “tiger”, still little known in Ecuador beyond some of its technology brands. With less than 108 thousand km2, without oil or minerals, it is among the twelve most powerful economies on the planet. As it did? South Korea is an example of a planned economy that quickly industrialized without relying on foreign direct investment.
It went from being a country of poor peasants, mostly illiterate, to being a rich country, betting on education and innovation. He specialized in technology for export, with a scheme of cooperation between the State, the private sector and academia, a virtuous trilogy.
The road has involved a lot of work and great sacrifices of its population, but has shown that, with planning and decision, it is possible to make big changes. Therefore, it is hoped that, among the fruits of this bilateral meeting, it will be possible to resume negotiations for a trade agreement.
This represents an excellent opportunity given the complementarity of their economies: while Korea produces automotive, electronic devices and vessels, Ecuador specializes in agro-export products demanded by the Korean market. (OR)