Tripoli, 5 July:
By Daeshik Jo, South Korean Ambassador to Libya
Further to my article dated 1 July, I write with further reason . . .[restrict]as to why I’m optimistic about Libya’s future, which comes from my lifetime observation of the experiment on the Korean Peninsula.
Since the division of Korea into North-South 64 years ago, there has been tremendous experiment on the social systems. The result of this is the base of my optimism.
Libya recently experienced an end to its long period of political hardship and has been working steadily since then to nurture and carry forward the first phases of the country’s new vision. Having succeeded in coming out from under the dictatorship which constrained its democratization and economic development, the international community has been impressed with Libyan citizens’ passion and spirit of fortitude as they have pushed for greater freedom and democratic representation.
Indeed, the Republic of Korea welcomed the Libyan peoples’ initial steps to establish free and fair government in their country and looks forward to continued progress.
As you know, there is overwhelmingly deep contrast between North and South Korea especially in terms of national capacity and within the broader spectrum of political and economic development.
South Korea, once an international aid recipient, has now become an aid donor. South Korea is the first case since OECD’s birth in 1961 of an OECD member transforming its status from recipient to donor. Its trade volume reached $1 trillion and now stands at ninth in the world. On the other hand, the social and economic indicators of North Korea are among the lowest in the world.
What is the main reason for the wide gap among the same people? Certainly, and most obviously, it is the stark differences in the two governments. We introduced a democracy’ and ‘market economy’, whereas, North Korea introduced a “Stalinist regime” and “ planned economy”. Indeed there are numerous other factors, but these standout as being the most prominent. Such factors as good leadership, the people’s confidence as well as their “can do” spirit and hard work may also have contributed to the success story.
Last weekend, I attended the 16th memorial ceremony of Abu Salim massacre. I could witness not only the tears of sorrow but also the feeling of hope and victory from the eyes of the bereaved families. The Libyan people have achieved a civil revolution and have made deep sacrifices to do so. The era of dictatorship in which people lived without hope has come to an end. Now Libyan people can take pride in the fact that their future is now in their own hands.
Of course, significant challenges remain in the aftermath of revolution such as instability, armed conflicts and insecurity. It will take some time to overcome these challenges and it cannot be expected these problems will be solved in a day. We understand that the first steps out from under dictatorial rule will not automatically see political stability and economic prosperity.
However, it is important that Libya is moving in the right direction, aiming for democracy and market economy. Since it is moving in the right direction, the Libyan people must continue to build upon what has been done and stay focused on the pursuit of the highest standards of equal participation, good governance, and rule of law.
We have no doubt that the Libyan people can move forward along these lines in the spirit of unity and common sacrifice that was shown over the course of the past year., I sincerely wish Libya the greatest degree of political and economic success in the future.
Daeshik Jo, South Korean Ambassador to Libya
See Ambassador Daeshik Jo’s opinion piece of 1 July: http://www.libyaherald.com/why-not-libya-witnesses-of-history/ [/restrict]