A Korean politician sparked outrage after by praising a military dictator – saying ”they would have lived in a country worse than the Philippines” if not for her economic policies.
Rep. Lee Un-ju of the minor conservative party Bareunmirae Party said the remark in an interview with Dong-a Ilbo, a local daily newspaper.
”There have been many dictators across East Asia and Africa. Most of them failed to develop the economy, unlike President Park Chung-hee. We should recognize his achievement,” she said aiming at former Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos whose administration had one of the worst economic decline in the country’s history.
Lee is now under fire for her statement which is apparently offensive and diplomatically problematic. Aside from being key economic and diplomatic partners, more than 1.5 million Korean tourists enter the Philippines every year.
The Philippines Embassy in Seoul is set to issue a statement ands said that the article has already been ”brought to the attention of the person in charge.”
The comments sparked anger from Filipinos. ”Filipino soldiers shed their blood and died in Korea” Romeo Santos Mandinggin, a Filipino man and a fan of Korean culture, told The Korea Times. ”By all means she should (apologize), but I doubt she will.”
The lawmaker made the comment as she defended the economic policies of Park, whom she compared with former dictators in other countries such as the Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos.
Belittling the Philippines, which was one of the first countries to send troops to South Korea during the Korean War (1950-53), is nothing but a disgraceful act, another Filipino said.
”The Philippines may not be as rich as Korea is right now, but part of Korea’s development is due to the help of Filipinos even after the war,” Jerry Yusi said.