The Korean peninsula is the last bastion of the Cold War and, together with Cyprus, the only divided countries in the world.
Invited to a World Journalist Conference in Seoul and other cities, we received firsthand experience of how South Korea managed to achieve so much in such little time.
The 1950-1953 war literally destroyed the south. Also, the division and the real threat of an unpredictable northern regime are always present. This didn’t prevent people from reconstructing their country, plan ahead and constantly develop the already formidable industrial, automobile, technology and service sectors of the economy.
South Korea will be hosting the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. When visiting the area last week, all venues were tested and ready to welcome the athletes. And by July, it will have an extended motorway and a fast train structure linking Pyeongchang with Seoul.
In Nicosia, the authorities have struggled to complete Eleftheria Square over the last five years.
In 13 years – from 2004–2017 – South Koreans built Incheon Free Trade Zone. It is a new town of about 250,000 people, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, parks, rivers and cultural centres. Companies from all over the world can base their Asian headquarters there, paying zero taxes for 50 years.
Korea is a divided and potentially very dangerous peninsula, as highlighted recently by the efforts of the north regime to develop nuclear missiles. The southern part, though, is moving forward at almost light speed, dealing with corruption by putting even its guilty President in prison. A comparison, therefore, with reality in the RoC, leaves much to be desired.