Two different flags raised

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Two different flags raised

The author is head of the Today-People News team at the JoongAng Ilbo.

Loire is a three-hour drive from Paris. The 15th and 16th century French political center is home to more than 1,000 large and small castles. The Château d’Amboise had been a king’s residence, and on Oct. 8, the Korean national flag was raised here. The owner of the castle welcomed the attendees of the Korea-France Club to promote bilateral relations. It is the first time the flag was hoisted at the 600-year-old castle.

“I want to interact more with Korea,” the owner of the castle said. “I’m also considering a sisterhood relationship with a palace in Seoul.” About 500 meters from the castle is a mansion, Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last days. Francois Saint-Bris, who represents the owner’s family, presented a Korean language guidebook to the Korea-France Club, saying that the booklet was made to expand exchanges with Korea.

On Oct. 6 and 7, France’s interests and hospitality in Paris was also impressive. The French government invited the club to its Foreign Ministry building at Quai d’Orsay, the heart of diplomacy since 1855. It is such a revered place that there is a Netflix series with the same name. A government minister in charge of investments who hosted a luncheon showed the sincerity to have a personalized greeting to the members of the club. He proposed geonbae, or “cheers” in Korean, holding up a glass of wine.

When the Korean flag was raised and geonbae was shouted, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un conducted a tactical nuclear drill while Lee Jae-myung, the head of the Democratic Party (DP), sparked controversy over maritime drills among Korea, the United States and Japan on the East Sea aimed at coping with North Korean nuclear threats. Lee said that if Japan is invited to the joint drill, the Rising Sun flag will be hoisted in Korea in the future. The DP keeps attacking the conservatives with its cherished “pro-Japanese posture.”

It is a waste of time examining why this logic is illogical. The problem is that the People Power Party’s response is on the same level. The PPP leadership is trapped in the Rising Sun Flag rhetoric created by DP leader Lee. I don’t see the logic in helping elevate Korea’s potential with a bigger vision and broader perspective. The “pro-Japanese stance” debate over the Rising Sun flag does not make sense. National strength needs choice and concentration. There is not much time left for the Korean flag to be flying in the Château d’Amboise.
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