Lee sees future in multiculturalismPresident Lee Myung-bak said yesterday that Korea should step up efforts to embrace immigrants because a growing number of multicultural families presents an opportunity for the country to become an “advanced, top-notch” nation.
Lee said the recent murder of a Vietnamese bride by her mentally ill Korean husband was a reminder that Korea still lacks a proper system to protect ethnic minorities.
The 20-year-old woman was beaten and stabbed to death at her home by her 47-year-old husband on July 8, eight days after she arrived in the country following a marriage brokered by an international matchmaking agency.
“There should be no recurrence of such an incident, which troubles all of us and inflicts painful scars on the people of the bride’s home country,” the president said in his biweekly radio address.
He pledged to address problems in international matchmaking and called for his people to change their mind-set about multicultural families.
“Now, multicultural families have settled down as a common form of families in our society,” Lee said. “Regrettably, however, there is lack of maturity in our perception.”
More than 180,000 foreigners, mostly women from Vietnam, China and the Philippines, reside in South Korea after marrying locals, and the number of their children has reached 120,000, according to government data.
“A full-fledged multicultural society, which we have never experienced, is unfolding,” Lee said, describing it as an opportunity for Korea as it seeks to enhance its international competitiveness. “Historically, prosperous countries have successfully digested different cultures and achieved harmonious amalgamation. We all should have open minds to accept people from outside.”