Celebrating 30 years of China-South Korea friendship
As August 24 approaches, I am ready to celebrate, in Seoul, the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Republic of Korea.
Ten years ago I was posted to South Korea, to cover news. We Chinese have a saying ― 10 years pass by during the snapping of the fingers ― while in Korean there is a similar saying to the effect: A sea change in a decade.
I can still remember vividly the bewilderment I experienced when I first set foot on the soil of South Korea in 2012.
I was waiting for my flight, all alone, at an airport in Beijing, when I received a text message from a veteran colleague who used to be my superior.
"Worry not if thou art alone on thy way ahead, for thy name is to the world spread," it read.
The message was unmistakable: My motherland was right behind me, providing me with the strongest support possible.
In 2012, which marked the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and South Korea, the two countries were enjoying something of a "honeymoon."
With meticulous planning, I and some of my colleagues had, in more than four months afterward, visited no less than 20 provinces and cities in South Korea that enjoyed close ties with China in economic and cultural exchanges.
Our intensive interviews led to the production of a 20-episode video series marking the anniversary. This led to three achievements: First, we had given considerable publicity to people.cn; secondly, we had added nearly 20 local governments to our list of business partners; thirdly, I experienced the intensity of Sino-South Korean cooperation, which pointed to the direction of development for the next decade.
In another sense, this has been a very long decade. I have been involved in nearly a hundred China-South Korea exchange events, ranging from economy, culture, media, sports, public diplomacy, to events focused on the young people. Each coverage, by capturing a memorable moment in the 10 years, testifies to the win-win cooperation between the two peoples and the deepening of friendship between the two peoples.
From my own perspective, one of the most challenging experiences in the decade has been the local production of a TV program. As TV still commands a significant following in South Korea, since October 2016, my team, in conjunction with South Korean Chinese TV, has been making "Weekly China*Now" talk show for seven consecutive years.
In a light-hearted tone, this program gives extensive coverage of the latest development in economic, social and cultural spheres across China, in a narrative style that caters to the viewing habits of the new generation.
Over this seven-year period, we managed to provide our South Korean audience with a huge amount of Chinese news events featuring, among others, the opening to traffic of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, the successful launch of the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft, the successful planting and harvesting of saltwater rice in Dubai's desert by Yuan Longping's team, the maiden flight of the C919, China's first domestically built large passenger jet, and the innovative cloud graduation ceremony initiated by some Chinese colleges during the COVID-19 lockdown. These events help show the South Korean audience a China that is friendly and open, economically and scientifically progressive, warm and full of positive energy.
This was reinforced through cooperation during the pandemic.
It has been a busy 10 years in South Korea from a professional perspective for me, though I also find the years fulfilling, productive and meaningful.
I have made my share of contributions, and the South Korean people have given me ample credit and honor in return.
In 2014, in recognition of my efforts in publicizing the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, I was honored as Honorary Governor of Gangwon Province. In 2015, upon the recommendation of the Chinese embassy in South Korea, I was chosen as an honorary citizen of Seoul.
Looking forward, I sincerely hope that in future people from both countries will learn from each other in co-authoring the next chapter of another 30 years of friendship, in light of mutual respect, cooperation and peace.
(The author is general manager of the South Korean branch of People.cn. Wan Lixin translated the story.)