Former South Korea Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo Visits the Yenching Academy of Peking University


On September 28, 2018, the former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo, accompanied by his wife and entourage, visited the Yenching Academy of Peking University. Dean Yuan Ming and Associate Dean Fan Shiming of Yenching Academy hosted the visiting guests.

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Sharing a friendship with Mr. Lee for over twenty years, Dean Yuan Ming briefed her long-time friend on Yenching Academy’s founding principles and on the curriculum’s design. Mr. Lee expressed his appreciation and approval of the establishment and development of the academy. Associate Dean Fan Shiming then gave a brief introduction of the current Peking University East Asian Cross Education Program. He discussed CAMPUS Asia, a higher education program designed to encourage cross-cultural exchanges in East Asia. In conjunction with Peking University, University of Tokyo, Seoul International University, and other universities in China, Japan and South Korea, the program has trained many outstanding future talents for political and economic fields of East Asia.

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Mr. Lee started his undergraduate degree at Seoul National University in South Korea before transferring to Emory University in the United States. He later taught at Seoul National University for 20 years before entering politics. Mr. Lee talked about his work experiences, especially after becoming the Prime Minister of South Korea, when he discovered that East Asian countries are more like one community. The rapid development of China in recent decades has also redefined the status of East Asia in the world’s political structure.

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More than a dozen students from Yenching Academy and the School of International Relations listened to Mr. Lee's views on the political landscape in East Asia. Mr. Lee said that he is happy to see more Korean students increasingly coming to study and continue their advanced degrees in China, pointing to the scholars in attendance as evidence to this growing trend. Sharing with the scholars his many years of political work experience, he pointed out the interrelationship between peaceful coexistence and independence, emphasized the close political and economic ties between South Korea, China, and Japan, and spoke about the importance of opening up and integrating during the globalization era. Following his talk, the scholars asked Mr. Lee questions about the Korean Peninsula’s predicament and on world trade.

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