Ambassador Gustavo Adolfo Lopez Calderon of Guatemala hosted a reception at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Sept. 14, 2015 to celebrate the 194ty anniversary of Independence.
It was attended by many Korean and international guests as well as ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps. The Korea dignitaries attending the reception, among other guests, were Director General Bahk Sahng-hoon of the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Chairman Lim Soo-bok of Kanglim C.S.P. and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post that operates five media outlets in English and Korean.
From the international community came many distinguished guests, especially the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, who included AmbassadorsElisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria, Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Suth Dina of Cambodia, Hernan Brantes Glavic of Chile, Jario Lopez of Costa Rica(CDA), Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Gustavo Adolfo Lopez Calderon of Guatemala, Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla of Holy See, Michel Idiaquez Baradat of Honduras, Dlias Nicolas of Lebanon (CDA), Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain and Yadira Hidalgo de Ortiz of Venezuela (CDA).
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Lopez said, “The mutual relations between Guatemala and Korea have been also underscored by this year’s celebration of the Korean community of more than 10,000 strong in our country with the first anniversary of establishment of Korea Town and Seoul Avenue in Guatemala City.”
Then he said, “At this moment, we are overjoyed to announce the official launching of the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement FTA between Central America and the Republic of Korea on the 21st of September 2015 in Seoul as this opens a new chapter for the relationship Guatemala-Korea raising the challenge to deepen bilateral relations and friendly binds.” (See further details of speech toward the end of this article.)
Ambassador Lopez’s address was requited by one by Director General Bahk of the MOFF, who said, “As a vital presence in Central America, Guatemala is not only Korea’s valued friend but also an important cooperation partner. When we talk about Guatemala, many people envision the ancient Mayan Civilization, the high-quality coffee sold in Starbucks or the world-famous Guatemalan rainbow garments known as Huipil.” (See further details toward the end of this article.)
Then there came a toast offered by Chairman Lim Soo-bok of Kanglim C.S.P. in celebration of the Independence Day of Guatemala and best wishes for Korea, Guatemala and all the guests present at the party. (See introduction of company at the end of this article.)
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Lopez:
It is a great honor for me to invite all of you to celebrate with us the 194thanniversary of Independence Day of the Republic of Guatemala. With the same spirit, please allow me the opportunity to define the important moment in time out country is living with one word, “Pride.”
With that same pride Guatemalan citizens have made important contributions to achieve major changes in favor of the stability of our country, along with a great commitment the citizens organized peaceful demonstrations inobservance of the rule of the law, that resulted in aconstitutional process that replaced the President and ending in the legal appointment of His Excellency, Alejadro Maldonado Aguirre, as the forty-ninth ConstitutionalPresident of the Republic of Guatemala.
Following these events, the country held transparent and peaceful general elections on September 6, 2015 to choose the new authorities of the countryfor the next four years. The electoral process was guaranteed by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal and backed by the Government as well as the differentobservation missions and the internationalcommunity. In this context, we would like to express our gratitude to all countries for conveying their support to this national democratic process.
This highlights the importance of our international ties and support, that is why I am pleased to also celebrate the upcoming 53rdanniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Guatemala and emphasize the excellentbilateral relations reiterated at the high-level visit of the First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yong during the 3rdbilateral meeting and the XII Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation between SICA countries and Korea in May 2015 in Guatemala.
In this opportunity relevantagreements were reached in the bilateral and multilateral agendas.
The mutual relations have been also underscored by this year’s celebration of the Korean community of more than 10,000 strong in our country with the first anniversary of establishment of Korea Town and Seoul Avenue in Guatemala City.
At this moment, we are overjoyed to announce the official launching of the first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement FTA between Central America and the Republic of Korea on the 21st of September 2015 in Seoul. This opens a new chapter for the relationship Guatemala-Korea raising the challenge to deepen bilateral relations and friendly binds.
Finally, I would like to express my sincerely gratitude to our sponsors for their support to celebrate the independenec e Day of Guatemala in Korea.
Excerpts from the speech of Director General Bahk:
It is indeed a great honor and privilege to join you tonight to celebrate the 194th anniversary of the day that the Republic of Guatemala gained its independence. On behalf of the government and the people of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on this auspicious occasion.
As a vital presence in Central America, Guatemala is not only Korea’s valued friend but also an important cooperation partner. When we talk about Guatemala, many people envision the ancient Mayan Civilization, the high-quality coffee sold in Starbucks or the world-famous Guatemalan rainbow garments known as Huipil.
As for myself, when I visited Guatemala more than 10 years ago, I was most impressed by the splendid vestiges of the Mayan civilization that I saw with my own eyes. Furthermore, when I learned that two Nobel laureates, Miguel Angel Asturias and Rigoberta Menchu, had been born in Guatemala, I became even more interested in the history of Guatemala and in the lives of Guatemalans.
Korea and Guatemala have walked a path of friendship and cooperation, side by side, ever since the establishment of diplomatic ties back in 1962. The trade volume between our two countries more than doubled in 2014 compared with 2013, and last year investment in Guatemala by Korean companies reached its highest level since 2007.
Currently, about 5,000 Koreans live in Guatemala and about 100 Korean companies operate there. They provide jobs and export their products overseas, thus contributing to the country’s economic and social development. People-to-people exchanges are increasing as well.
Whenever I consider how best to strengthen cooperation with Latin American countries, the word that springs to mind is “opportunities”. Not just business opportunities, but opportunities to pursue win-win cooperation and co-prosperity.
The Roman philosopher Seneca, once said that “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” To enjoy the sweet fruits of peace and prosperity, we need to make every effort to seize the opportunities that present themselves, while at the same time preparing for the future.
The friendship between our two countries is close than ever before. Given the limitless potential for cooperation that still lies untapped, I believe we need to step up cooperation while at the same time extending it to a broader range of areas.
One concrete step forward will be a Korea-Central America free trade agreement(FTA). This pact is already under discussion, and Korea is pleased with the progress of the efforts to date: in June this year, Korea and six Central American countries including Guatemala, officially declared the start of FTA negotiations. It is heartening that all seven parties are scheduled to have the first round of talks in Seoul next week. We hope that both sides can enjoy increased trade and co-prosperity by signing a mutually beneficial win-win treaty.
Before closing, I would like to add that in August, Korea and Guatemala officially became Regional Coordinator of the Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation(FEALAC) until 2017. This positive step occurred on the occasion of the Seventh FEALAC Foreign Minister’s Meeting attended by Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, and it means that Korea and Guatemala will work together in these pivotal roles to increase mutual understanding and cooperation between East Asia and Latin America.
With my warmest congratulations once again on this year’s Independence Day, I wish Guatemala continued development as well as everlasting friendship with Korea.
Who is Kanglim CSP?
Chairman Lim Soo-bokof Kanglim CSP says, “It is like yesterday when I first stocked and delivered pipes on the yards with bare hands without a single warehouse.We now have the biggest warehouse in Southeast Asia occupying an area of 33,000 square meters as a result of hard work we put in for the past four decades.”
“After 40 years since our foundation,” recalls Chairman Lim, “we have now become a stable company that holds most of the domesticmarket share in the field of seamless steel pipes.” He states:
“We have consistently adhered to our business principle of providing the customers and clientele with the most competitive prices, the best quality and thepromptest delivery service we can offer. We have been faithful to these basics, and will always maintain this policy.
“We are where we are today thanks to the unreserved support given and assistance us by our partners who have encouraged us to move forward with unsparing interest in us andlove for us for the past 40 years.
“I also want to express my heart-felt gratitude to every one of the members of the company who have dedicated themselves to the development and growth of Kanglim for thepast 40 years.
“We will not dwell on what we have already achieved (including the biggest warehouse in Southeast Asia), but will try to grow into a leading steel company in Korea with an aim to become a leading global corporate.
“Kanglim CSP, a leader in the pipe industry, has grown together with the development of Korean industry. Our products are used in a large variety of fields of industry such as shipbuilding and construction of onshore/offshore plants, petrochemical complex, refinery and power generation facilities. With 70% of Korean market share, Kanglim CSP is firmly positioned as the largest seamless pipe supplier in Korea.”