Dr. Han Seung-soo KBE
Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea
President, the 56th of the United Nations General Assembly
SOAS Memorial Lecture 2013
International Convention Centre, Berakas
29th October 2013
I am very pleased and honoured to be invited to speak to you at this important public lecture in memory of Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien.
The late Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien was a great man, the Architect of Modern Brunei, who devoted his life to restore the monarchic dignity of Brunei and worked tirelessly for the peace, security and the well-being of the Brunei people.
In the unsettling and rapidly decolonizing early years of the United Nations after the Second World War, he was pivotal, through diplomatic ingenuity and patriotic persuasion, in safeguarding the independence of this nation at the time when the international and regional political situations were changing not necessarily to the advantage of this small country, Brunei.
It is indeed a great personal honour for me to be invited to speak at this commemorative lecture as I also come from a country that has gone through a similar stage of international and regional political and economic difficulties.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation particularly to His Royal Highness Prince 'Abdul Malik, Chairman of the Committee of Governors of the Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah for his kind invitation.
I am also most grateful to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah for the kindest support to invite me to this Memorial Lecture.
I remember with a fondest memory, my last visit to Brunei in November 2001 when as Korea's Foreign Minister, I took part in the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting here in Brunei. All of us attending the ASEAN+3 were very much impressed by the efficient organisation of the meeting but above all, greatly appreciated the kindness and the hospitality of the people in and out of the conference room at the time. The country I visited then for the first time was very clean and beautiful. After 12 years later, Brunei is even cleaner and more beautiful, more peaceful and prosperous and better known to the world.
Since then Brunei has been very active in expanding its global and regional outreach. The recent ASEAN+3 Summit and the East Asia Summit which President Park Geun-Hye of the Republic of Korea attended and Brunei hosted so successfully a little more than two weeks ago succinctly testify to an increasing role that Brunei has been playing in the international and regional affairs.
In the summer of 1963, 50 years ago, Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien went to London at the invitation of the British Government. It was in London at that time that the Sultan took the major but very difficult decision to stay out of Malaysia, defining the destiny of this nation. It was a very crucial decision but on reflection, a very correct and rightful one for the future of Brunei and its people.
In the same summer, 50 years ago, I also arrived in London to pursue my post-graduate studies in Great Britain.
At that time, Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. Its per capita income was less than US$100. Because of the shortage of foreign exchange reserves, the Koreans were permitted to leave the country with no more than US$100. When I arrived in Great Britain in the summer of 1963, I had US$90, about £30 at the going exchange rate in my pocket.
When I went in to live in a dig introduced by the University accommodation office, my landlady, Mrs. Forth, seeing me for the first time, seemed to be somewhat puzzled. When I asked why she was so at a loss seeing me, her reply was "Why aren't you black?" When asked why I should be black, her reply was "Aren't you from Africa?" She thought Korea was located somewhere in Africa. Such was the knowledge of working men and women of Great Britain about Korea 50 years ago. At that time, Korea's image in Great Britain and the world was the country nothing but of war, poverty, endemic disease, coup d'etat, dictatorship, street demonstration, police brutality, human rights violation, orphans and the likes.
At that time, we as a nation had much a catching-up to do in order to make Korea an economically prosperous, politically free-democratic, socially inclusive and culturally vibrant country. But as we had no natural resources at the time, we had to create something out of nothing.
In April 2002, 11 years ago, I visited Ghana on my way to Sierra Leon where in my capacity as President of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, I went to inspect the United Nations peace-keeping operations. At that time, I had a summit meeting with President of Ghana, President John Kofi Agyekum Kufour in his Palace in Accra and then had a joint press conference.
President Kufour had invited me to Ghana the year before when both of us attended the Nobel Peace Prize Banquet and Dinner in Oslo in December 2001. As you may know, I received the centenary Nobel Peace Price on behalf of the United Nations in Oslo on December 10th, 2001. President Kufour was invited to the ceremony as one of his countrymen, Mr. Kofi Annan, then the Secretary-General of the United Nations, also received the Nobel Peace Prize with me on his own behalf.
At the press conference, President Kufour openly asked how was it that when Ghana gained independence in 1957, Ghana's per capita income was US$300, three times more than that of Korea, but while its per capita income still remained US$300 in 2002, the per capita income of Korea reached US$10,000. He liked to know the secret of Korea's economic success.
In June this year, 11 years later, I once again visited Ghana to attend an international conference. A decade later from my first visit there, Ghana's per capita income was still around US$1,500 while Korea's per capita income adjusted by purchasing power parity reached US$30,000 in 2012.
Korea has now become the 12th largest economy with GDP of about US$1.1 trillion and the 8th largest trading nation with a total trade of US$1.07 trillion in 2012. Its foreign reserve stands at over US$300 billion. Korea is now the aid donor; the only developing country that moved from the recipient of the official aid to the 24th member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee, the donor committee of developed nations in 2010.
When Korea was very poor, the OECD, the so-called club of rich nations, was our dream. In 1996, 33 years from the day I set my foot in London, Korea was finally admitted to the OECD. Personally it was a very moving moment because in my capacity as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I was the chief principal minister-in-charge of successful negotiations for accession to the OECD. You can imagine the great sense of achievement that I personally entertained at the time.
When I was Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea later, I served as the Chair of the 2009 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting where I was able to garner the unanimous support of the participating ministers to pass a resolution on the Declaration on Green Growth, the new paradigm of growth to promote quality-oriented, low carbon green growth for the world; the paradigm shift I would describe more in details later in the speech.
Korea and the Koreans were often misunderstood in the past. Sometimes they were oversold but oftentimes, they were undersold. However, it is true that Korea has now become more widely known for good or bad all over the world than when I was growing up.
With the advancement of democracy and human rights, the rapid development of the national economy, the increase of the middle class, the Seoul Summer Olympic Games of 1988 and the World Cup of 2002, Korea's forthcoming PyongChang Winter Olympic Games of 2018, APEC Summit meeting in 2005, the G-20 Summit Meeting in 2010 which a non-G8 country hosted for the first time, Nuclear Security Summit in 2012, UN High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness last year and World Energy Congress a few weeks ago in Korea, Korea is a totally different country compared with 50 years ago, or even 30 years ago.
Korea is now a global leader in several manufacturing sectors. Korea is the world leader in DRAM memory chips with 65.7 percent of global market share, in LCD displays with 51 percent global market share, in the mobile phone market share, and in shipbuilding, in automobiles, in refinery capacity and in steel production.
Korea is one of the leading countries owning a large number of the intellectual property rights after the US, Japan, Germany and China with 11,848 international patents applied in 2012. Korea ranks the highest on the government broadband index and has the highest smartphone penetration rate with 58 percent of Koreans owning smartphones in 2012 as compared with 42 percent in the US and 39 percent in the Western European countries.
Korea is now the home of many Olympic medals and lady golf championships. The Koreans constructed the tallest buildings in the world, Petronas in Kuala Lumpur in 1996 and Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010. The K-pop such as Gang-nam Style and Korean drama waves, Hallyu, are sweeping Asia and the world. Korean art with such video-artist like Paik Nam June, the largest number of talented classical musicians, sports people such as footballer Park Jusung, figure-skater Kim Yuna, and golfers like Park Inbee and with the Korea's London Olympic team in 2012 winning 28 medals, ranking the 5th in the 2012 Olympic chart. With these and now millions of Koreans travelling abroad nowadays, Korea is becoming a name of a country well known throughout the world.
In the area of international peace, development, human rights and the eradication of global poverty and endemic diseases, one cannot but hasten to mention that the heads of two most important international organizations, the United Nations and the World Bank, were born in Korea. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General is a Korean and Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank is a Korean-American.
Thus, Korea indeed has changed and changed very rapidly during the last half century. Today I would like to concentrate only on the economic success story, what its secrets are, and how Korea can offer the lessons to other developing countries.
As I said, Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world in 1962 when we embarked on the First Five-Year Economic Development Plan (1962-1966). However, it is amazing to note that Brunei had a long-term development plan ahead of most of developing countries already in the 1950s. Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien's benevolent concern to his people resulted in the formulation of the First Five-Year Development Plan for the years, 1953-1958. It was a decade before Korea ever conceived of formulating a similar long-term plan. His Royal Highness had such an insight and vision. He has been an inspiration to all the developing countries even then.
If I were to enumerate the most momentous events in the economic history of the Republic of Korea since 1960s, they are as follows:
1. President Park Chung-hee's visionary and clean leadership and the formulation of the economic development plan in 1962.
2. Nixon Doctrine and the initiation of Heavy and Chemical Industry Development in the early 1970s.
3. Oil Crisis and the Economic Stabilization Policy in the early 1980s.
4. Asian Financial Crisis and Globalization of Korea economy.
I would like to explain these events and the relevant policies in more details.
Korea's First and Second Five Year Plans (1962-1971) initiated by President Park Chung-hee which embraced 'The Economy First' Principle emphasized on the development of light industries, the export-oriented development, investment in infrastructure and the development of key industries such as fertilizer, cement and steel industry.
At the time, Korea's financial resources both domestic and foreign were very much limited. In order to mobilize domestic resources for economic development, the National Tax Service was established in 1966 to increase the tax revenues. In order to encourage the inflow of foreign financial resources, the Bank of Korea provided repayment guarantees for foreign loans.
Korea was endowed with few natural resources but had a large, efficient and diligent labour force. Therefore Korea's export-oriented industrialization was initially focused on the labour-intensive light industries. As a consequence of export promotion policy, the export increased by 20 times within ten years between 1961 and 1970. The per capita income of US$82 in 1961 increased to US$253 by 1970. The average annual GNP growth rate was 8.8% more than the target growth rate of 7.1%. It was for this reason of unexpectedly high growth that the term, The Miracle on the Han River was coined.
In July 1969, the Nixon doctrine was declared and the Bretton Woods system collapsed in August 1971. Korean government realized then that heavy reliance only on light industry would neither sustain Korea's rapid economic transformation nor would prepare Korea for the self-defense system as the Nixon doctrine implied the American disengagement from the Korean peninsula. Korea had to defend itself and therefore needed to have its own defense industry. The Korean government had to change the emphasis from the light manufacturing to the heavy industry. The Heavy and Chemical Industry (HCI) Promotion Plan was announced therefore in May 1973.
The HCI promotion concentrated on steel, petro-chemicals, shipbuilding, machinery, electronics and nonferrous metals industries. To promote the plan, the monetary and financial support was designed to give preferential interests rate even below the inflation rate as well as to give special tax reduction and exemption measures. This industrial policy expedited the growth of Korea's typical business-financial conglomerates, i.e. the chaebols.
With the political instability caused by the assassination of President Park Chung-hee in 1979, the macroeconomic imbalance due to the HCI overinvestment and the second oil crisis, Korea needed to drastically stabilize the national economy. The major economic problems that Korea faced in the late 1970s and the early 1980s were chronic inflation, imbalance of current account, large foreign debt and investment distortion.
It was a major crisis, both political and economic, that Korea faced for the first time in almost two decades. Korean economy needed a fresh start with new policy. Economic growth could not be sustained without controlling inflation. In order to remedy the situation, Korean government announced the economic stabilization policy in 1980, and even introduced a zero-base budget for 1982. This was a very drastic and dramatic economy policy of Korea at the time. No other major countries in the world have ever implemented the zero-base budget before or since then.
The successful implementation of the economic stabilization policy in the early 1980s enabled Korea to prepare for another major economic take-off in the middle of 1980s. External factors also contributed to the success of Korea's economic development during the late 1980s. The so-called Three Lows, low oil price, low exchange rate and low interest rate helped Korea restore its competitive edge once again.
In July 1993, Korea announced a New Economy Five-Year Plan to liberalize the financial market. By December 1995, Korea's per capita income exceeded US$10,000 mark and Korea was admitted to the OECD in December 1996.
Then the international financial crisis of 1997 struck Korea. The Asia's financial crisis that began in Thailand reached Korea in the second half of 1997 and the Korean government had to agree with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a financial rescue package of US$57.6 billion. However Korea was able to pay them back in August 2001, 3 years ahead of schedule.
At the time, our approach to deal with the international financial crisis was to further open and more liberalize the capital market. As opposed to the open market approach a la Korea, Malaysia at the time adopted the different, opposite approach by closing the domestic financial market to the outside world. However, both countries succeeded in overcoming the Asian financial crisis in due course and it has now been left to the economic researchers to find out why and how both policies diametrically opposed, could succeed.
Thus, Korea was able to overcome the Asian financial crisis within a few years and Korean economy was put on a normal growth trajectory. However, the collapse of Lehman Brothers 10 years later in September 2008 once again brought about the international financial crisis of historical magnitude and we had to deal with it. At the time I had already been called back to serve as Prime Minister and the management of the national economy was one of my immediate responsibilities.
I hope you would allow me if I were to diverge a little bit at this juncture and to speak on how the leader's experiences interact with the nation's economic realities to produce a new strategies and policies. I would like to relate my own international political experiences in strategizing Korea's new economic policy paradigm.
As some of you may know, I am an economist by profession and had long been Professor of Economics at Seoul National University before I entered politics in 1988. I was elected Member of the National Assembly in my constituency, Chuncheon city, Gangwon province, the most mountainous region in Korea where my family had lived since the early 15th century.
However, I left politics in 2004 voluntarily at a time when my popularity in my district was overwhelmingly high and I could have been easily re-elected for further terms. The year 1988 marked my 16th year in politics. Had I run for the National Assembly in that year, my political career would have spanned 20 years, which would have been 2 years longer than I worked as Professor of Economics at Seoul National University. At the time entering politics in 1988, I had promised to myself that I would not stay in politics longer that I spent in academia. Not wishing to renege on my own promise to myself, I left politics without any lingering attachment to it.
Interestingly enough, by doing as such, I was actually following Korea's long tradition of the scholar-statesmanship. During 518 years of Korea's last kingdom, Yi Dynasty, all the high-ranking officials were excellent scholars and poets. The high-level public servant examination required them to compose poems and answer questions on the Chinese classics such as the Analects of Confucius, the Works of Mencius, Doctrine of the Mean and so on. This long-held scholastic tradition of high bureaucracy in Korea is markedly different from Japan where Samurai, warriors rather than literati, assumed major roles in the government.
Promptly after my departure from domestic politics, I was invited by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to serve as one of his three Special Envoys on Climate Change. The others were Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile.
As the Special Envoy, I traveled widely to solicit the support of the world leaders. Through these trips, I found out that the world leaders were clear about the need for us to work together to adapt to the effects of climate change and to assist those who are least able to do so.
I heard many speak of their national actions and strategies, dispelling myths about inaction. At the same time, virtually everyone said or implied that the current level of effort globally was not commensurate with the challenges of stabilizing concentrations of greenhouse gases at a safe level. In sharing views about how to address the situation, I was impressed by the continuing support that leaders shared for the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which have proved robust and durable over the years. In particular, I noted the clear emphasis on the 'principle of common but differentiated responsibilities,' and the recognition of the special circumstances of developing countries.
Thus, at home and abroad, I witnessed a growing consensus to abandon the conventional economic approach of 'Grow First, Clean Up Later.' A new and fresh policy framework was needed in its place, one that would enable economic growth, prevent environmental degradation and enhance climatic sustainability. What was desperately required at this stage was clear and unrelenting leaderships to translate these desires into practical policy action that could bring about this change in reality.
While I was spending my happy and leisurely post-political life, thus concentrating on international public activities, the newly-elected President of Korea invited me to join his government as Prime Minister in January 2008. When that call came, I had some idea, with 20 years of experiences in domestic and international public service, of how to assist the President in changing Korea's traditional development paradigm to move ahead in a rapidly changing world. Such a change was necessary if the new administration was to achieve the goal of transforming Korea into Global Korea, a truly responsible member of the international community that would contribute towards addressing global as well as domestic issues and challenges.
It was against this backdrop that President Lee Myung-bak, when he attended the G-8 Summit Outreach Meeting on Climate Change in Toyako, Japan in July 2008, made a public announcement that Korea, (a) will become an early mover in tackling the global issue of climate change, (b) would play a bridging role between developed and developing countries, (c) would do its best to refine the Kyoto Protocol's market-based mechanism to encourage the non-Annex 1 countries of the Kyoto Protocol to join forces to reduce carbon emissions voluntarily and (d) would establish the East Asia Climate Partnership with an initial endowment of 200 million US dollars as a venue for more intensive deliberation for the major carbon emitters in the region: China, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and other ASEAN countries.
One month after the G-8 Outreach Summit, Korea proclaimed on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Korea on August 15th, 2008 that Low Carbon, Green Growth would be Korea's new national vision. This vision aimed at shifting the current national development paradigm from the quantity-oriented and fossil fuel development to a quality-oriented, sustainable development model. Unlike in the traditional, quantity-oriented growth model where labor and capital are major factors of production, the most important factors under the new quality-oriented growth paradigm would be new ideas, transformational innovations and the state of art technology.
Through the new paradigm of low carbon, green growth, Korea aimed to kill three birds with one stone; (a) creating new engines of high growth, (b) ensuring climatic and environmental sustainability and (c) contributing more to the process of international negotiations to fight against global warming and climate change.
Unfortunately, as we were preparing to put this new national vision into policy action, the Lehman Brothers collapsed on September 15th 2008, producing devastating global financial repercussions. I had to grapple with the ripple effects of the so-called once in a century credit tsunami. Consumer confidence remained very low while anxiety levels continued to soar. The pervasiveness of exotic instruments and various toxic assets in our capital markets meant that any remedy was rendered deficient at best. At the time of the Lehman Brother's downfall and global stagnation that followed immediately, the road ahead seemed to be long and arduous and the success was contingent on all the stake-holders doing their parts. By this time, it was an incontrovertible fact that the principle global challenges that Korea faced were twofold; the global financial crisis and climate change.
In order to put the new national vision of Low Carbon Green Growth into policy action and at the same time to address the devastating financial crisis, we began to work out various measures. On 6th January 2009, I, in my capacity as the Prime Minister, announced the Green New Deal Policy. Beyond creating the enabling conditions for green growth, it also sought, through a New Deal component, to stimulate jobs and restore growth. In economic-technical terms, the policy was an amalgam of a long-term policy of expanding growth potentiality through innovation and a short-term policy of creating jobs and revitalizing the national economy through fiscal stimulus.
The policy aimed at facilitating the transition towards a green economy while stimulating jobs. As a combination of neo-classical, supply-side economic policy with Keynesian, demand-oriented policy prescriptions, the New Deal portion of the policy was designed to phase out as the national economy recovered, leaving only green growth as the major economy goal to deal with.
Korea's Green New Deal Policy received a very favorable comments and responses from the global environmental and financial community such as United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and HSBC. The HSBC analysed that over 80 percent of Korea's policy package contained green growth component. As you may know, the large proportion of New Deal policy package has been traditionally spent on pure public works. Korea was the only OECD member country that registered a positive growth during the first quarter of 2009.
To further translate green growth paradigm into policy, we announced a blueprint mapping out 17 new engines of growth. These included six projects under the category of green technology industries such as renewable energy, low-carbon energies, LED applications, green transportation system, advanced water management and the state of art green cities, another six industries in the category of fusion technology including IT fusion with manufacturing technology such as robot applications, new materials and nano fusion, bio-medicine and value-added food industries. Finally, an additional five projects make up of the high value-added job creating industries such as green financing, contents and software development, MICE, and tourism.
Since the inauguration of the new Park Geun-hye government in February this year, Korea has been putting a great emphasis on the creative economy with social inclusiveness as the most important policy objectives. Whether she will succeed in once again elevating the global economic ranking and status of Korea will be contingent on all the Koreans working together to achieve the goals that she has set. However, there are a lot of newly emerging problems that Korea has to solve on the way.
First, Korea is rapidly becoming an aging society. The fertility rate has fallen rapidly, affecting the future labour force and adversely influencing on the size of domestic demand in due course.
Second, the savings rate has gone from one of the highest in the world at the time of rapid development to one of the lowest, about 3 percent in the case of household savings in 2012. This is one of the lowest in the world, affecting domestic investment adversely and making Korea to rely heavily on foreign financial resources.
Third, the discrepancy between the largest conglomerates and the small and medium companies has been growing over the years. The conglomerates have become more globalized and innovative while the small and medium companies are short of entrepreneurial capability and innovation, becoming a drag on the fast economic progress.
Fourth, the service sector is rather underdeveloped and needs revamping. The service sector needs the international competition and the opening of the service sector such as education and health has been met by the strong opposition of various domestic interest groups.
Fifth, the labor market needs drastic reform and the labor bureaucracy has to go through revamping. The hostile labor disputes and strikes sap much of Korea's economic potentiality.
There are several other challenges that we have to address if Korea were to take off once again and to become truly one of the most advanced countries in the world.
I have put you through a crash course on the recent Korean economy. How could the Korean economy grow so fast during the last half century? What then are the lessons of Korea's fast growth and transformation to other developing economies? I would like to pinpoint a few relevant factors that made Korea grow fast.
The first is the high-level leadership and vision. Just as the late Sultan was the great visionary for Brunei, one cannot deny that President Park Chung-hee offered a very effective leadership and a great vision for the development of Korea. It was due to him that Korea overcame insurmountable odds to galvanize the nation to aspire to a higher standard of modern living in record time. Korea is undoubtedly the most successful developing country to have graduated on to the big league of industrialized powers over the last 30 years. The lesson to take away from Korea's transformative experiences is that leadership and vision matter. With committed strong and clean political leadership armed with an inspiring national vision, huge challenges could be met and daunting vulnerabilities could be mitigated.
The second is education and innovation in technologies. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) publishes the Human Development Report every year and this year's report is entitled, "The 2013 Human Development Report – The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World". In the human development index of this report, Korea is ranked 12th among the 121 countries. Norway is the first, US the 3rd, Japan the 10th, Brunei the 36th and China is ranked 101st.
Education lies at the cornerstone of the remarkable transformation of Korea. Educational performance is vital to economic growth and human development. This is also evidenced in a 2009 OECD assessment which found that four of the five highest performing educational systems in the world are Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Education was crucial in enabling Korea to close the technological gap early in its development path by developing local technical knowhow and expertise fostered. The Korea Institute of Science and Technology established in early 1960s was able to attract many foreign-educated scientists and engineers back to Korea to help Korea's economic and technological progress. Korea may be one of the very few countries which registered a huge reverse brain drain.
Third, early global market access and enlargement also greatly contributed to economic and human progress in Korea. With the fundamentals of a successful market economy firmly established through the export-oriented industrialization strategy of the early 1960s to 1970s, Korea, in the mid-1980s, had already been transitioned into a market economy fully integrated into the global markets.
In the early 1990s, top-down reforms for rapid financial liberalization without adequate regulation and supervision of the financial system left Korea vulnerable to the external shocks of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Despite this, far-reaching reforms since then in the banking and financial sectors, though not fully satisfactory, and the strengthening of the international framework and corporate governance have rendered the Korean economy more resilient, transparent and efficient. Proof of this was shown in the Korea's rapid recovery from the initial shock of the global financial crisis of 2008 when Lehman Brothers suddenly collapsed.
Fourth, while the speed and breath of Korea's economic transformation are often recognized, the success of Korea development model also lies in its concurrent focus on social inclusiveness. The point is that economic growth is the key to unlocking human potential and development; but it must be accompanied by serious measures to spread income and wealth. For example, the Saemaul Undong, or the New Community Movement launched in Korea in 1970 sought to rectify the growing difference in income and living standards between the rural areas and the industrializing urban cities.
As a result of such conscious efforts, Korea has been free of fundamental social exclusion resulting from large-scale poverty, entrenched income inequalities, unequal access to education or deep-seated gender discrimination. Korea was a model of fast growing development economy with the income inequality under tight control.
Fifth, good governance is the key to economic success. Clean government is another. The so-called Miracle on the Han River and Korea's continued economic and social development would not have been possible without the implementation of a well-developed social infrastructure and the emergence of a professional and effective public administration. The ability to translate the high level vision into strategic planning across all levels of governance, and the ability to move from policy to action through government guidance and oversight were key elements of the early, government-led industrialization. While the first and second five year plans were being implemented in Korea, no government officials at all levels spared their energy and time, sacrificing even their personal and family lives to the economic prosperity of the nation and to benefit of the people.
Last but not least, the role of enterprising entrepreneurs has to be added as one of the factors of Korea's economic success. Lee Byung-chul who founded the Samsung Corporation, the global leader in manufacturing DRAM memory chip, TV, smartphones, TV among others, Chung Ju-young who built up Hyundai Group of shipbuilding, automobile and construction, Park Tae-jun of Pohang Steel, the founders of LG, GS, SK among others are the entrepreneurs who contributed greatly to the Korea's rapid economic development.
Visionary leadership, education and innovation, globalization, social inclusion, good governance, and effective public administration and entrepreneurship are some of the lessons that Korea can share with the aspiring developing and emerging economies.
I cannot complete my speech without reference to Brunei.
Already the people of Brunei are enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world in general and in Asia in particular. Its per capita GNI topped US$45,690 in 2012 is only superseded by US$52,613 in Singapore.
The recent Human Development Report 2013 by the UNDP shows that Brunei belongs to the group of the very high human development. There are only 5 Asian countries that belong to this group of 47 countries.
This remarkable achievement was made possible through a series of remarkably visionary leadership in Brunei, the late Sultan Omar 'Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien provided the strong leadership having helped Brunei and the people of Brunei enjoy the independence of the nation as well as the economic history. What the late Sultan has taught us is that it is the leader who makes all the difference.
Following the late Sultan's royal leadership, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah has been offering a very wise leadership not only to the people of Brunei but also to the people of the region. He is one of the most respected leaders in the region and I am confident that under his stewardship, Brunei will become richer and happier place to live in the coming years.
Brunei has launched Wawasan Brunei 2035, Brunei's National Vision 2035, in 2008. Under the dynamic and experienced leadership of His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince, I am sure that Wawasan 2035 will reap the concrete results in acquiring the highly skilled group of educated people in Brunei, in offering a good quality of life for all in Brunei and advancing dynamic and sustainable Brunei economy in the future.
I wish you all good health, success and happiness.