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S. Korea, Nation Hard to Run Business
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S. Korea, Nation Hard to Run Business
  • By Jack H. Park
  • August 6, 2018, 13:32
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi casts a sidelong glance at Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong bowing deeply at the waist when President Moon Jae-in extends his hands for a handshake at a Samsung Electronics’ smartphone factory completion ceremony in Noida, on July 9, 2018 (local time).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi casts a sidelong glance at Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong bowing deeply at the waist when President Moon Jae-in extends his hands for a handshake at a Samsung Electronics’ smartphone factory completion ceremony in Noida, on July 9, 2018 (local time).

On July 9, South Korean President Moon Jae-in attended Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone factory completion ceremony in Noida, Uttar Pradesh Province in northern India. While greeting President Moon, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong bowed deeply at the waist several times. I wonder how Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who saw the scene, would think of it. Did he think it’s just a courtesy for the leader of the nation?


Samsung Electronics invested US$650 million in the Noida plant. It is the biggest mobile phone manufacturing plant in the world. With the completion, the new plant will produce 120 million mobile phones a year. This will create 35,000 jobs in India. President Moon mentioned the Noida plant as “a symbol of mutual growth cooperation between India and South Korea” at the ceremony.

However, Samsung, which created such a strong diplomatic asset for the nation, wasn’t treated properly. When cutting tapes, vice chairman Lee was pushed aside. President Moon and Prime Minister Modi stood at the center. Minister Hong Jong-hak of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups (MSS) and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stood by President Moon and then Vice Chairman Lee. MSS Minister Hong and Foreign Minister Kang were placed between President Moon and vice chairman Lee even on the seating chart at the event. Only people directly involved will know whether the power made such a request or Samsung voluntarily did so studying the pleasure of the power.

Not long before the ceremony of Noida plant was held, Taiwan’s Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, had its groundbreaking ceremony for the LCD production complex in Wisconsin of the United States. The ceremony was attended by US President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan. In short, the first, second and third in the power ranking in the US were all present at the event. A photo shows that Foxconn chairman Gou Tai-ming stood at the center of the picture shoveling taken on the groundbreaking ceremony. President Trump stood on the left and House Speaker Ryan on the right. Chairman Gou was always stood at the center.
 

No government has not treated the host of similar events at home and abroad this way before the Moon Jae-in government came to power. The leading role at the Noida plant completion ceremony was treated poorly by its own country. Vice chairman Lee’s 90-degree bow is a company’s bow to political power at the moment when he is still in trial after getting caught up in a domestic political scandal against his will. It is also a bow to the power that mobilized all the related government agencies to raid a company more than 10 times and harass it despite repetitive rejections of warrants. The power made the host a guest. South Korea is now such a country. The ruling power which gained power due to candlelight vigils that voiced “Is this is the nation?” brought dishonor internationally to a company which has a better brand image than the nation. Is this a nation really?