Promising diplomacyIn his inaugural speech, President Lee Myung-bak emphasized global diplomacy.
Lee promised to deliver a kind of diplomacy that would draw together the international community by transcending race, religion and wealth.
He also made public his ambition to contribute to peace and development around the world.
The key word in his inaugural speech was “advancement.” He said promoting national interests and upgrading Korea’s status are critical to promoting diplomacy.
To this end, Lee said he plans to emphasize global diplomacy as a foreign policy goal.
The new president stressed the importance of a strategic U.S.-Korea alliance and cooperation with Japan, China and Russia.
Surrounded by superpowers, Korea needs a stable diplomatic environment for an active global diplomacy.
On his first day as president, Lee jump-started his diplomacy with talks with the four superpowers, which was a promising start.
He agreed with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to restore Japan-Korea relations through shuttle diplomacy and resume economic ministerial talks.
He met with Russian Prime Minister Victor Zubkov, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Lee said he will be motivated by pragmatism rather than ideology in trying to resolve inter-Korean relations.
Productivity is the key to allowing 70 million people on the Korean Peninsula to enjoy a better life, he said.
Lee reaffirmed his policy that once North Korea gives up its nuclear programs and adopts a more open face to the rest of the world, South Korea will help the North achieve an average $3,000 per capita income within 10 years.
His ambitious declaration highlights that reciprocity will be the principle underlying his administration, linking the nuclear issue with aid and assistance.
However, it is unclear what Lee will do if the nuclear crisis talks remain stalled.
Promoting national interests and upgrading Korea’s status through diplomacy cannot be achieved by rhetoric alone.
Determination and action are essential, meaning that our human and material resources will be needed.
The new president must implement his promise of global diplomacy with actions, not words.