Ambassador Zulfiqur Rahman of Bangladesh in Seoul deeply impressed the Korean and other guests at his National Day reception when he said, “The relations between Korea and Bangladesh has been as solid as rock.” Speaking at a reception he hosted at the Crystal Ballroom of Lotte Hole in Seoul on Feb. 28, 2016 in celebration of the National Day of his country, Ambassador Rahman said, “We share common values of democracy, human rights and rule of law and we strongly oppose nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.” Then he noted that high-level visits between Bangladeshi and Korean leaders are a norm and that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh visited Seoul in 2010.” “The two countries are now working for a return visit to Dhaka,” he said obviously hoping eagerly for the realization of the visit of President Park Geun-hye to Bangladesh.
Ambassador Rahman then noted that the Bangladesh-Korea bilateral trade now stood at US$ 2 billion and that hundreds of Korean businesses are operating in Bangladesh. Korea, he said, has emerged as one of Bangladesh’s top development partners and that Bangladesh is cooperating in a number of areas, such as economic cooperation, defence, human resource development, and cultural cooperation.
Ambassador Rahman also noted that Bangladeshi workers in Korea are contributing to the economy of this country and that Bangladeshi students are also doing higher studies in Korean universities. “These students will go back to Bangladesh to apply their knowledge in Bangladesh’s development,” he said.
Toward the end of his speech, Ambassador Raman concluded: “Finally, let me say this: I love the Korean people so much! Long live Bangladesh-Korea friendship!”
(See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)
The reception was attended by many distinguished guests from the Korean society and the international community as well as the Seoul Diplomatic Corps. Attending the party from the Korean side were Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Tae-ho of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Korean Honorary Consul General Gwang-ho Kim and representatives of the Korean and international business and various other organizations.
Attendance from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was also very large and included many ambassadors and their spouses. They included Ambassadors Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Gerhard Sabathil of the Delegation of the Europan Union, Archbishop Osvaldo Padilla of Holy See, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait, Kaman Singh Lama of Nepal, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain, Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
There were attractive traditional folk dance performances of Bangladesh presented by both men and women, which attracted the attention of the guests.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Rahman of Bangladesh:
Today, we are celebrating the most important day for the Bangalee nation. On 26 March 1971, our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan. This was the final stage in our 20 years of national struggle for freedom. In 1952, we started our struggle for nationhood by sacrificing lives for defending our right to speak in mother tongue Bangla, which is now celebrated worldwide as International Mother Language Day on 21 February. We came out victorious on 16 December 1971 after a nine-month-long guerrilla war, but at a huge cost of three million martyrs and loss of honour of around 200,000 girls and women.
We are grateful to the Korean people that Korea recognised the independence of Bangladesh within a few weeks of our liberation. That spirit of friendship has been the foundation of our relations ever since.
We inherited a country devastated by war. Father of the Nation began the process of nation-building, but the old enemies of our independence--from within and outside of the country assassinated him in 1975. They wanted to destroy us as an independent and proud nation.
But they failed. People of Bangladesh proved them wrong. Bangladesh is now a proud nation, and have many achievements to showcase to our friends. Bangladesh is a country whose achievements in women empowerment, education--particularly girls’ education, health, microcredit, MDGs, etc. have become models for many countries. Bangladesh is now a low-middle-income country, and we are working to become a middle-income country by 2021. We are a leader in maintaining international peace and security through our high contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations worldwide.
The relations between Bangladesh and Korea has been as solid as rock. We share common values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. We strongly oppose nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. High-level visits between Bangladeshi and Korean leaders are a norm. Our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Seoul in 2010. The two countries are now working for a return visit to Dhaka.
Bangladesh-Korea bilateral trade now stands at US$ 2 billion. Hundreds of Korean businesses are operating in Bangladesh. Korea has emerged as one of our top development partners. We are cooperating in a number of areas, such as economic cooperation, defence, human resource development, and cultural cooperation. Bangladeshi workers in Korea are contributing to the economy of this country. Bangladeshi students are also doing higher studies in Korean universities. These students will go back to Bangladesh to apply their knowledge in Bangladesh’s development.
Several Korean companies are eyeing investment in Bangladesh in sectors like energy, infrastructure development, ICT, agricultural product processing, light and heavy engineering, tourism and in other service industries. Bangladesh boasts one of the most investor-friendly investment regimes in the region. The country is strategically located as a transportation hub connecting South Asia with ASEAN countries as well as China. I call upon the Korean investors to invest in Bangladesh, and export their products to many countries in the world where our products enjoy duty-free-quota-free access. This will be a win-win situation for all.
Bangladesh has many touristic attractions yet to be explored. Cox’s Bazaar--the 120 km-long soft-sand sea beach, longest in the world; Sundarban (beautiful forest)--the largest mangrove forest in the world where the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger roams around; some rarest and most ancient Buddhist monasteries and relics are just a few among many tourist attractions Bangladesh offers. I invite our Korean friends to visit Bangladesh, and enjoy the well-known hospitality of the people of Bangladesh.
Today, we will present a glimpse of our cultural heritage here. The artists are not professional. They are students studying in Korean universities. I hope you will enjoy it, and also the Bangladeshi cuisine.
Finally, let me say this: I love the Korean people so much.
Long live Bangladesh-Korea friendship!