Letter: Korea wants Britain as a partner

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leader ("High stakes in Korea, and rewards to match", 6 August) is very perceptive: we as a nation do indeed "have a lot tied up in Korea" and this is not as widely known as it should be. To the strategic, trade and investment interests you draw attention to, it is important to add education, science and technology. Korean school students are renowned for their performance in international league tables in maths and science, while Britain is perceived to be good at the creative aspects of education. We naturally complement each other. Hence the increasing number of Koreans seeking sixth-form and university education in Britain.

In science and technology, the South Korean government has planned investment growth over the next few years on a generous scale that clearly recognises their importance in a modern economy. Again, Britain is perceived to be a good partner with its long tradition of discovery and innovation. There are messages here that our new government should be listening to carefully. We need a strong science base to respond to these opportunities.

Education, science and technology will also be key players in the eventual reconciliation of North and South. A future united Korea will remember who its partners were in the immensely difficult period of transition.

Professor DENIS NOBLE, FRS

Balliol College,

Oxford

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