Korea's Pride: Kang Kyungwha's Footprint1)
Minister for foreign affairs Kang Kyungwha has received much global attention for her interview with the BBC. Kang said, “First of all, testing is central because that leads to early detection, it minimizes further spread, and it quickly treats those found with the virus. I think that’s the key behind our very low fatality rate as well.” But the U.S. has encountered problems at each stage and did not implement a strong inspection policy at the beginning of outbreak. As a result, the number of confirmed cases increased by 20,000 in just four days. Also, the U.S. healthcare system is privatized, so there is no national health plan for all citizens, unlike Korea. I.e., people in the U.S. cannot get tested unless they pay $2,000 or more. Europe, saying "Korea is doing exceptionally well managing the crisis" and "I am grateful for its transparency". Currently, Asian racism has become a serious problem in the awake of COVID-19. Shocking incidents around the world are occurring such as being denied accommodation at a resort and being hit on the head with a glass in a bar. Kang said, “I can’t tell you how many incidents I have heard of reports of Asians, not just Koreans, being verbally abused, even physically attacked in other countries. Governments have to take responsibility to stop this kind of racism because it is not helpful to generating the spirit of collaboration that we absolutely need to overcome this challenge together, globally.” U.K., saying "We're all in this together". Kang dignity on the world stage made all Koreans proud.
Kang has shown her strength in global affairs long before this. Last year, Japan started to exclude Korea from its list of export-friendly countries. Kang responded with, "I strongly express my concern about Japan's very arbitrary and unilateral action." During the speech by the Japanese minister on ways to improve the Korea-Japan relationship, Kang remained quiet, but during the final round of talks, Kang who had been silent and cool-headed waiting for an opportune moment, began by warning Japan of stern repercussions, saying a security review is inevitable. It is uncommon for a nation to express discontent on the international stage, so it drew much attention from the other nations. At present, there are over 100 countries banning entry of Koreans to their nations, and Kang have strongly protested. She upon being invited to the Japanese embassy, said, "Japan needs to face up to objective facts and circumstances. If you don't withdraw, Korea will also come up with a corresponding alternative." Kang's polite but stern words and actions were met with positive reviews not only at home but also from abroad. As Korea's first female minister for foreign affairs, the public eye is always on her and her actions.
1) Jung Sihaeng, “Four Million Won for a COVID-19 Test...The Wrath of the American.”, Chosunilbo, February 28, 2020