[LETTERS]Baseless rhetoric about Korea-bashing

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[LETTERS]Baseless rhetoric about Korea-bashing

I was completely baffled by the accusation of “Korea-bashing” made in Nam Jung-ho’s “Viewpoint” piece, “Korea-bashing in the U.S.” on Jan. 15.

By using the term Korea-bashing, the author seems to be equating any criticism of Korea in the United States with the racist rhetoric and violence that was directed against the Japanese in the 1980s (which was referred to at the time as “Japan-bashing”).

Such an accusation is completely baseless and offensive.

As proof of this Korea-bashing trend, Mr. Nam presents exactly three pieces of evidence, all of which are comments made by various public figures in the U.S.

The first was from President-elect Obama, whom he quotes as having said: “Hundreds of thousands of Korean cars are coming into the country, but the United States is selling only 4,000 to 5,000 cars to Korea. This is not free trade.”

The second comment was from Congressman Charles Rangel, who was said to have “mentioned Korean automobiles as a factor that is blocking the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement.”

The final comment is from a former United Auto Workers [union] president who apparently “pointed out the imbalance in automobile trade between Korea and the U.S. as a serious problem.”

These three comments are the only examples of this so-called Korea-bashing which are presented to us in the column.

What is it about these comments that make the people who made them guilty of such a serious accusation as Korea-bashing?

Do these comments really deserve such a racially-loaded term?

Not at all.

They are simple statements of fact.

It is true that Korea has more access to the American automotive market than vice versa, as President-elect Obama has said.

It is also true that, as Congressman Rangel and the former UAW president pointed out, this trade imbalance is an obstacle in [ratifying] the free trade agreement between the two countries.

So any American who points out these simple facts is guilty of Korea-bashing?

That is completely unjust.

In closing, I would like to remind those who would call this Korea-bashing that many Korean politicians also criticize the FTA, voicing concerns about Korean farmers who may suffer economically if beef and rice imports from the U.S. are increased.

Some of these politicians even turned to violence in Yeouido last month, attacking their fellow politicians with a fire hose, among other things.

And who can forget the incredibly violent and destructive protests last year to prevent the resumption of importation of U.S. beef.

Should we call all of that America-bashing?

Christopher Borhani

Suwon, Gyeonggi Province
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