U.S. envoy says Korea investment attractive despite N. Korea threats

By Chung Joo-won
  • Published : May 15, 2013 - 20:16
  • Updated : May 15, 2013 - 20:16

U.S. ambassador to Korea Sung Kim said South Korea is a safe and attractive business venue despite North Korea’s military threats.

“The very fact that we are gathered here this evening to celebrate this anniversary of AMCHAM is sending a strong message that despite North Korea’s provocations, Korea is a safe and attractive place to do business,” he said in the ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea on Tuesday evening.

Leaders of the two countries’ business, diplomatic and political circles gathered to celebrate the “hwangap,” a Korean word for sixtieth birthday. Ancestral Koreans believed in a circular worldview, viewing 60 years as one life cycle, which makes “hwangap” a rebirth, or continuation of life. 
Leaders of business, diplomatic and political circles of Korea and the United States attend a ceremony to mark AMCHAM’s 60th anniversary in Korea on Tuesday in Seoul. (Yonhap News)

The AMCHAM launched its operation here in 1953, after the Korean War had left the Korean Peninsula in ruins. Tensions rose and fell in the past 60 years, but the Korea-U.S. alliance has built up strength along with Korean economic development.

“The American Chamber of Commerce in Korea has had an exciting and meaningful six-decade long history ― one that has been so intertwined in and close to Korea’s history over the same period,” AMCHAM president Amy Jackson said in her welcoming address.

The fast development of the Korean economy owes much to the role that AMCHAM played in persuading U.S. companies to invest in Korea, Korean politicians said.

In the past six decades, South Korea’s gross domestic product per capita rose from $67 to $22,000.

South Korean leaders also took their turns to assure their American partners of Korea’s security.

Vice Speaker of the National Assembly Park Byeong-seug said, “As for national security, the pan-party cooperation and the Korea-U.S. alliance will lead us to a safe, trustworthy investment environment here, no matter how severe the North Korean threats can be.”

The event underscores that the U.S. companies have steadfastly held onto to three Ps ― presence, partnership and perseverance, said Pat Gaines, chairman of AMCHAM.

By Chung Joo-won (