Diplomats Urged to Have Salesman Spirit
By Lee Tae-hoon
The government called on South Korean diplomatic mission chiefs abroad, Monday, to have a business mentality.
``I urge each of the diplomats abroad to have the mindset of a salesman and actively support businesses to make inroads overseas,'' Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Yu Myung-hwan said during an annual meeting with some 110 ambassadors at the Central Government Complex in Seoul.
Minister Yu said diplomatic missions should be dedicated to supporting Korean businesses in achieving tangible results abroad, such as signing contracts for nuclear power plant construction and natural resources development projects.
``What the people want most from the government is support for employment and business operations abroad, according to a 2009 survey by the ministry,'' Yu said.
The ministry said most of the participating mission chiefs will participate in one-on-one consultations with CEOs at a gathering slated for Wednesday at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul.
The foreign minister also called on the mission chiefs to actively support individuals travelling to their host nations, noting that the country seeks to send up to 60,000 people under working holiday programs abroad and expand its overseas volunteers to 20,000 by 2013.
In his address on the country's policy and diplomatic goals for this year, Yu said Korea would actively seek to take the initiative on global issues, such as climate change and the North Korean nuclear standoff.
Yu said that the ministry is determined to upgrade the nation's ``status and dignity'' through the successful hosting of the G-20 Summit in Seoul from Nov. 11 to 12.
``If the diplomatic goal for 2009 was to overcome the economic crisis and transform Korea into a mature, global nation, the objective for 2010, as seen from the hosting of the G-20 forum in Seoul, will be raising the dignity and status of the country,'' he said.
The minister added that President Lee Myung-bak would attend a nuclear security summit in Washington in April, the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June, G-8 and G-20 Summits in Canada in June, the Asia-Europe Meeting in Belgium in October and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Japan on Nov. 13 and 14.
Yu said Lee is also considering paying state visits to countries in the Middle East, Africa, South America and the European Union to expand the scope of Korea's diplomacy and strengthen its global leadership.