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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — When a jet from a Seoul-based airline crashed this weekend in San Francisco, South Koreans took it personally.
The president issued a statement of regret. With a low bow, Asiana Airlines’ chief apologized not just to passengers and their families but to all of South Korea. Along with sadness over one of the highest-profile crashes by a Korean air carrier in recent years, average South Koreans expressed shame and embarrassment about how it would reflect on their country.
It is a reaction that would be difficult to imagine coming from people in the U.S. or many other countries. The successes and failures of big South Korean firms are intimately linked to this small, proud, recently developed country’s psyche.