[EDITORIALS]Aid conference as catalyst?Prime Minister Lee Hai-chan left the country on Wednesday to participate in an international donor conference aimed at coordinating relief efforts for South Asia, which was hit by devastating tsunamis.
At this special conference, representatives from South Korea, Japan, China, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka will participate, along with officials from international organizations such as the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank.
Since the end of the Cold War, there have been many summit meetings and international conferences, but never has there been one in which such factors as religion and economic power are being disregarded and nations are gathering for a single purpose, which is to provide aid to a specific area, as we see in this case.
This conference proves that globalization does not necessarily mean that a world order is only determined by the world powers, but that the overall good of the world can actually become a logic for globalization. In the aftermath of the disaster, the increasing aid given by various countries in an almost competitive fashion demonstrates a new wave of diplomacy.
This has given new hope and possibilities in light of a post-Sept. 11 era in which the United States has pursued its unilateral policy, Islam and Christianity have clashed, and ideologies have been at odds, while real world leadership has been lost.
Although Japan may have a special interest in South Asia that may justify its help, to contribute $500 million in aid, which is about 0.014 percent of its gross domestic product, has significant meaning. The fact that South Korea contributed $50 million, or 0.0083 percent of its GDP, and China has chipped in $63 million, or 0.001 percent of its GDP, compared to France and Britain, which have put in aid packages equal to 0.006 percent of their GDP, and the United States, which has contributed 0.003 percent of its GDP, indicates that Asian countries have taken on the moral responsibility that comes with their growing national power.
This shows that the growth of Asia and the power of democracy can help to make the world more secure and peaceful. Let’s hope that through the conference the human race agrees on the merits of globalization and democracy and agrees on shared responsibilities so that the conference can act as a catalyst to build a new world.