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Korea examined in Czech journal

In the 20 years since the start of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Czech Republic, the Eastern European state has become an increasingly important country to Korea and vice versa.

In June, the Czech Institute of International Relations published a magazine devoted entirely to Korea.

Petr Drulak, the institute’s director, was recently in town at the invitation of Korea Foundation.

“Now we know more about each on both sides, so I can imagine there will be common conferences,” he told The Korea Herald.

“We will invite Korean researchers and they will invite me and hopefully we will come up with a joint publication or exchange articles on international relations,” he said.

Drulak added that Korea was a very important player in the Czech economy.

Today, Korea is the fourth largest foreign investor after Germany, Japan and the United States.
Czech Institute of International Relations director Petr Drulak displays his insitutue’s  magazine issue devoted to Korea.                                            Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald
Czech Institute of International Relations director Petr Drulak displays his insitutue’s  magazine issue devoted to Korea.                                            Yoav Cerralbo/The Korea Herald

There are about 30-40 Korean companies operating in the Czech Republic, the biggest being Hyundai Motor.

“There are a lot of economic exchanges but people don’t know much about each other so this is one of those things we can contribute to bridge the gap,” Drulak added.

He was referring to the institute’s magazine titled “Mezinarodni Politika (International Politics).”

The 44-page June issue has an interview with Czech Ambassador to Korea Jaroslav Olsa Jr. and an article written by European Union Ambassador Brian McDonald about the Korea-E.U. free trade agreement.

The Czech Republic has been an important player on the peninsula since the Korean War. During its days as a communist state, Czechoslovakia was one of the four members of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission.

To examine this history, former Czech Ambassador to Seoul Tomas Smetanka contributed an article about the Czech’s role in the NNSC.

No magazine would be complete without an article focusing on inter-Korean relations and for such an article the institute received a contribution from Jim Hoare, the first official British representative to North Korea.

Other articles are on Sino-Korean relations, President Park Chung-hee and his importance in the development of the Korean economy, the importance of information technologies, missile defense, how Korea weathered the current financial crisis, North Korean refugees’ hardships in integrating into South Korean society and the development of Czech studies in Korea.

Two articles that will probably raise some eyebrows are about current President Lee Myung-bak titled “Hawk in the Blue House,” and how movies about the Korean War are depicted in both Koreas.

The magazine which is published in the Czech language provides a platform for an open discussion on international relations and questions of Czech contemporary foreign policies.

By Yoav Cerralbo (yoav@heraldcorp.com)
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