By M.A. Saki

The Republic of Korea: A strong-willed country ruled by Iron lady

May 2, 2016

TEHRAN - Park Geun-hye, president of the Republic of South Korea, made a historic visit to Iran on May 1-3. It was the first visit by a Korean leader to Iran since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1962.

The Republic of Korea, commonly called South Korea, has emerged from a third world country to a developed and industrialized country in just a few decades.

This is worth noting that this country emerged from the ashes of the 1950-53 Korea war.

The pace of development in Korea has been like a miracle. A small country with just about 40 million people is now the fourth largest economy in Asia, coming after China, Japan, and India.

Politically and economically, the Republic of Korea can be called the Wes Germany of Asia as the Korean peninsula is still divided into South and North Korea.

Now this country can be an example for Iran and many other countries.  This rapid growth could not have been achieved without proper planning, competitive economy, economic transparency, and hardworking, though still some Koreans think it is necessary to take more steps to build a more prosperous economy.

In international business, the Republic of Korea has also been taking giant steps.  Since the July 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and great powers, some countries in the West are still slow to seize the opportunity for investment in Iran, thinking they may fall foul to hardliners in the United States. However, President Park, whose country is a strategic ally of Washington, has visited Iran with the biggest business delegation - including representatives from internationally famous companies such as Hyundai, Samsung, LG -  singing contracts worth billions of dollars.

This shows that Seoul is not waiting for a green light from Washington to regulate its economic and political relations with Iran. The courageous move is expected from an Iron-willed country ruled by an iron-willed lady who takes care of the interest of Korean people.

The visit by President Park to Tehran further indicates depth of Seoul’s economic view of the 80-million Iranian market gifted with abundant natural gas and oil reserves as well as with a highly educated population.

Park’s visit follows a visit by the Chinese leader in January, a few days after the nuclear agreement went into effect. Now Iran expects Tokyo does not lag behind Seoul.

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