[EN] Korean xenophobia disappears

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[EN] Korean xenophobia disappears

Post by Admin 소중 on Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:23 pm

If the country as a whole suffers from the symptom of xenophobia, that can be a major stumbling block to attracting inbound FDI. “Xenophobia” means an unreasonable fear of strangers or foreigners in Greek. “Xeno” refers to foreigner and “phobia” means an unreasonable fear. Psychologists and psychiatrists say that there are many different factors that lead to the development of a mental disorder. Those who went through family tragedy or war atrocities are likely to suffer traumatic stress disorder. Many American soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War returned home with a significantly large proportion of them suffering from various mental disorders.

Medical doctors claim that a person’s xenophobic symptom can be healed by proper medical treatment. The patient meets with their therapist regularly. They partake in a specially-designed treatment program so that they gain confidence to overcome negative emotions like fear, and anxiety. Medication can help to some extent.

However, if the entire country suffers from a xenophobic symptom, it would be extremely hard to be cured. Historically many countries tend to experience the symptom of xenophobia when they are economically and militarily weak.

Chinese people were xenophobic for a long period of time. The Mongols invaded China and established the Yuan Dynasty (1271- 1368). This was the first time in history that the entirety of China was conquered and ruled by a foreign people. A few centuries later, the Manchus invaded China in 1644 and founded the Qing Dynasty which lasted until 1912.

China’s fear of the Western countries developed in the 19th century, when the Western powers and Japan forced it to open its economy. In 1898 the UK coerced China into leasing the New Territories ― a large agricultural area that would help support Hong Kong for 99 years. The UK’s encroachments encouraged other powers to follow its lead. France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, and the US all forced China to provide their governments with special rights and privileges. These actions by foreign powers helped foster xenophobia in many Chinese people. These days, however, very few people would believe that the Chinese are xenophobic.

Japanese people were also xenophobic for some periods of time. The Mongols attacked Japan twice. The first attack was in 1274 and the second one in 1281. Japan maintained a policy of isolationism until Western countries started demanding that Japan open up in the 16th century. In 1543 the Portuguese approached Japan to open a trade route linking Goa, India to Nagasaki, Japan. In 1844 William II of the Netherlands urged Japan to open, but was rejected. On July 8, 1853 the US Navy steamed four warships into the bay at Edo and demanded, under threat, that Japan open its economy.

On August 6, 1945, during World War II (1939-45), an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first deployed atomic bomb over Hiroshima. The explosion devastated the city and killed more than 80,000. Three days later, a second B-29 dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki and this caused about 40,000 casualties. Finally Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced on August 15 his unconditional surrender. He described the A-bomb as the most devastating and cruel weapon. But today few people would believe that the Japanese are xenophobic towards Americans.

Likewise there are many reasons why the Korean people used to be cited as xenophobic until the late 20th century. The Mongols invaded Korea several times during 1231-1259. Subsequently Korea became a vassal state of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty which lasted about 80 years.

Japan invaded Korea twice. The first invasion was in 1592 and the second in 1597. During the two war periods, the Korean peninsula was thoroughly devastated. Massive killings occurred. During 1950-53 Korea broke down into civil war. The North invaded the South. North Korea had military support from China and Russia.

Now one may ask “Are the Korean people xenophobic?” People would answer, “Yes, they were but not now.” These days, foreigners will find many Koreans outgoing and friendly toward foreigners. This has a lot to do with Korea’s economic prosperity. Korea is now the world’s 11th largest economy. Korea has changed from a foreign-aid receiver to an ODA provider. Psychologists argue that xenophobia tends to persist. But the average Korean is not xenophobic. Korea heartily welcomes FDI.

Dr. Jeffrey I. Kim is a foreign investment ombudsman, a presidentially appointed troubleshooter for investors and entrepreneurs from overseas. He earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago and taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder and Sungkyunkwan University.
By Dr. Jeffrey I. Kim
Cr. koreatimes.co.kr

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