Obama Talks about Korea

It has been striking how often President Obama has mentioned the acheivements of Korea in his public speeches recently. 

First there was his comment in April about how US kids need to study as many hours as Koreans in order to increase their test scors. Then last month, he explained that the example of Korea and Japan provides that it is possible to preserve one's culture and achieve fast economic growth at the same time.

And just this week, while at the G8 Summit in Italy, President Obama referred once again to the achievements of Korea in comparison with Africa, saying that 50 years ago, Korea was poorer than Kenya but that today, Korea is a rich country while Kenya is still poor. He explained that African nations should learn from the Korean example.

Comments like this make Koreans very proud, and rightly so. Understanding what Korea has achieved economically in the past half-century is a good starting point for appreciating the potential of business in Korea and with Koreans. Bringing up subjects like this in conversion with Korean can generate a lot of goodwill, too.

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