Ambassadors' China Story - I helped build the 'Green Great Wall' of China
Kwon Byong-hyon was a Republic of Korea ambassador to China from 1998 to 2000. Fascinated with China from his youth, Kwon studied in China for 25 years. He helped facilitate normalization of ties between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Korea even before he became the ambassador.
Soon after he took on the ambassadorship, the Republic of Korea was involved in the 1998 IMF financial crisis. Kwon requested aid from China, and with the Chinese government's help, the Republic of Korea was able to get back on its feet.
"I think we are greatly indebted to the Chinese," he said, wishing both countries could be as close as they were during the "good old days."
After his term as ambassador finished, Kwon started an NGO called "Future Forest" to help reduce desertification and the sandstorm effect by planting trees in China. With cooperation of both countries, Future Forest has successfully planted more than 30 million trees in the Kubuqi desert, leaving a huge treasure for future generations - a "green Great Wall" for the future.