Chile first country in Latin America to recognize the Republic of Korea
Ambassador Hernan Brantes Glavic of Chile hosted a reception at the Waterfall Garden of Grand Hyatt Seoul on Sept. 17, 2015 to celebrate the 205th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Chile.
The venue used to be used as the popular ‘Poolside Barbeque’ which attracted many guests as the chefs roasted the lobsters, big prawns, sausages and beef on a charcoal fire.
Many distinguished guests came from the Korean government and society as well as the Seoul Diplomatic Corps and other segments of international community.
Among the Korean guests in attendance were Deputy Minister Kim Hong-kyun for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Rep. Jasmine Lee, Director General Bahk Sahng-Hoon of for Latin America Bureau at MOFA and Chairman and CEO Park Young-ju of Eagon Industrial Company.
From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps came many mission chiefs who included Ambassadors Jorge Roballo of Argentina, William Paterson of Australia, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbert of Ecuador, Hany Moawad Selim Labib of Egypt, Milton Alcides Magana Herrera of El Salvador Jose Luis Bernal of Mexico, Jaime Antonio Pomareda of Peru, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Omrie Michael Golley of Sierra Leone, Milan Lajciak of Slovak Republic and Hakan Okcal of Turkey.
Speaking to the guests Ambassador Brantes said, “I should stress that Chile was the first Latin American country to recognize the existence of Korea in 1949 and since then bilateral relations have increased in such way that Korea is now our fifth largest trading partner in the world.” Further details of the speech follow:
I am very pleased to welcome you all on this beautiful evening and I thank you to join me in this reception to commemorate another anniversary of the national day of Chile. As we have done in previous years, we take this great opportunity to promote some of our food products that we are successfully exporting to Korea.
First let me refer to the 8.4 degree earthquake on the Richter scale that struck my country only 10 hours ago, but thanks to the country is well prepared for earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, the damage was very minor although terrifying.
I would like to highlight that even though Chile is a relatively small country with only 16 million people, extremely far from Korea, separated with 30 hour flight and a 12-hour time difference, that despite many logistic and distance difficulties, we have developed close political and commercial relationship between Chile and Korea, characterized by complementarities and mutual cooperation.
I should stress that Chile was the first Latin American country to recognize the existence of Korea in 1949 and since then bilateral relations have increased in such way that Korea is now our fifth largest trading partner in the world. It is well known that Korea signed with Chile its very first Free Trade Agreement, and since then the trade and products of both have positioned so well in each of our markets. The bilateral trade is over $ 7 billion US$, which means that Chile is the third largest partner of Korea in Latin America after Mexico and Brazil.
I believe that would be very appropriate express briefly a few comments on what has been my mission over 5 years in Korea: I had the honor of participating in 3 presidential visits both ways, which meant a big support for reaching and implementing issues of mutual interest. I can add the two countries have had good coordination on matters that set the international agenda; per example we have had a fruitful participation during last 2 years as non-permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations; the signing of some 25 agreements of all kinds during my tenure; mutual support in many candidatures for international organizations; many reciprocal exchanges of visits of authorities and public officers; exchange of graduate students increasing and a similar vision on democracy, security, free market oriented economies, trade facilitation and international cooperation.
Chile and Korea are countries full of opportunities, where I glimpse joint participation in the sectors of renewable energy, energy efficiency, environment and infrastructure; and more cooperation in areas: such as science and technology, education, astronomy and in Antarctic matters, among others.
However, there is one issue that no matter the effort I did, but I could not advance as I wanted. I mean the need for Korea comply as soon as possible, with the conditions imposed by its own legislation, for beginning negotiations to update and deepen our FTA, as so it has been agreed by our two presidents, which although it has been very successful, 11 years after its signature our FTA has stayed somewhat obsolete.
For Chilean nationals, President Michelle Bachelet has sent a salute to the communities of Chileans living abroad, which I would like to transmit to the 120 Chileans in Korea that tonight should all be present here and I quote in Spanish a very short passage:
“Amigas y amigos, espero que este 18 de septiembre, les traiga alegr?a, sea motivo de
reencuentro con las amistades y la familia, de reuni?n entre las diferentes generaciones y que podamos todos decir que Chile sigue viviendo en nuestros corazones como el primer d?a, porque ustedes queridos compatriotas siguen muy presentes en el coraz?n de esta Patria que los valora y que los extra?a”, end of the quote.
I should note that after more than five years in Seoul and more than 7 years abroad from my country, I must end my mission in Korea and return to Santiago late next month.
So, this is the perfect occasion to express my gratitude and recognition for the generous and substantial support I have received along my mission from many people alike, from authorities, colleagues and private sector to fulfill the tasks entrusted by my government.
In this regard, I wish to express my thanks in particular to the Director General for Latin America and Caribbean Bureau and staff, especially to the Chilean Desk, to Mafra, to the importers and investors, and parliamentarians, many are here tonight, and to the members of Korea - Chile Society, in the person of its President Mr. Park Young-Ju, Chairman of Eagon Industrial Company and also President of Korea-Chile Economic Cooperation Committee.
There is no doubt we are going to miss Seoul, since we spent with my wife Rosanna an important part of our lives here, but probably I will see some of you again and I can be sure our Koreans friends will do their best to keep improving the relationship between Chile and Korea. I finish here because I am honest to guess that the vast majority of you are certainly waiting for the wine and the barbecue.