[FOUNTAIN]Newcomers to power need a visit to U.S.Americans concerned about the Korea-U.S. alliance often refer to the “386 Generation.” The term describes people who are in their 30s, fought for democracy during their university days in the 1980s and were born in the 1960s. It is widely used among Americans interested in Korean affairs as well as by Korean specialists and policymakers in Washington.
To Americans, the 386 Generation projects two impressions. The positive image of the 386ers is what Professor Tom Plate of the UCLA Media Center calls the power source of the democracy movement in Korea. However, some military officials have a negative view of the 386 Generation and describe it as the group that politically incited and organized the formerly negligible anti-American sentiment.
The U.S. officials who are directly and indirectly involved in producing policies on Korea are concerned about increasing anti-American sentiment. They are far more worried about the situation than Koreans imagine.
They had their points. First of all, the Americans are disappointed that the young Koreans do not appreciate the sacrifice of Americans for the sake of Korea. During the Korean War, 54,000 American soldiers were killed. Secondly, the U.S. forces are stationed in Korea at the request of the Korean government, not for the benefit of the United States.
Lastly, Korea and the United States have not agreed on how to regard the regime of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, the mutual target of the Korea-U.S. alliance. The Korean government appears indifferent to the possibility that Pyeongyang would sell weapons of mass destruction to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.
So far, those who tried to respond to these questions were the conservative groups or the Grand National Party lawmakers. The United States has such an immense influence on the fate of Korea that we cannot afford to ignore the concerns. After the last Assembly election, the policy-making power has been transferred to the 386-generation politicians of the governing Our Open Party. Therefore, developing deeper insights and understanding is no longer a matter of taste but a public duty for the three dozens of 386er lawmakers. It would be best if they plan a trip to the United States for a chance to have discussions with Americans.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.