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Argentina marks 200th Independence anniversary with many VIPsAt medium-sized Atrium ballroom at Millennium Seoul Hilton

Ambassador Jorge T.A. Roballo of the Argentine Republic in Seoul said, “Although high-level officials from both countries have always been in regular contact, since the arrival of the new government last year, President Mauricio Marci--with the purposes of re-inserting the country into the international agenda--has given priority to the promotion of relations between Argentina and Korea.”

▲Ambassadors, their spouses and Korean civic figures as well as government representatives attend the Argentine National Day reception.

Speaking at a reception he hosted at the Atrium Ballroom on the 3rd floor of the Millennium Seoul Hilton on July 11, 2016 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Independence of Argentina, Ambassador Roballo stated, “In this regard, it is important to highlight the fruitful meetings that Vice President Mrs. Gabriela Michetti of Argentina held with Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn of Korea during her recent official visit to Seoul and also during her courtesy call on President Park Geun-hye.”

▲Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin for Political Affairs of Korea (left) speaks with Ambassador Roballo of Argentina shortly before they give a welcome and congratulatory speech to the guests.

The reception venue, the Atrium, at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on the third floor of the Hotel where a large buffet restaurant of Orangerie used to be before, was an adequate facility of excellent taste of d?cor for medium-sized social functions with a uniquely decorated ceiling which posed a striking contrast with similar reception rooms at other five-star deluxe hotels in Seoul which had low ceilings and which, therefore, gave the guests a kind of feeling that Korean guests would say, “Dapdap Hada” (meaning “stuffy, stifling or suffocating”). The Atrium with a well-furnished high ceiling also made a good contrast with the low-ceilinged medium-sized reception rooms at other five-star hotels in Seoul.
The venue, the Atrium, also had a wide open space of about the equal size of the Atrium, which, when used when it is not too warm or cold, would give the guests an ample space almost as large as a regular-sized ballroom.

▲Photo shows, at foreground from left, Ambassadors Rolf Mafael of Germany, Jorge Roballo of Argentina and Charles John Hay of the United Kingdom speaking with Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin for Political Affairs of Korea at right, foreground.

Ambassador Roballo then stated that the meetings held on that occasion and the outcomes achieved led to a step forward in the consolidation of the partnership of the two countries, deepening the political dialogue, developing more economic cooperation and extending the support in new fields such as cultural, education, environment, science and technology.”
“Among other high level officials who visited Seoul,” Ambassador Roballo stated, “I would like to highlight the recent visit of Minister for Modernization Dr. Andres Ibarra of Argentina who met with Minister of Interior Hong Jun-sik and signed an MOU of cooperation on e-government setting the dates for the visit of an important Korean technical delegation to Buenos Aires to work on this matter.” (See further details toward the end of this Report.)

▲The tastefully furnished ceiling of the banquet room offers a fresh look from the common ceilings of other five-star hotel banquet rooms in Seoul. On the right hand side is the glass-pane wall with a door connected with the outside open space of about an identical size, which could offer a perfect venue for an outdoor-indoor reception during the spring and fall seasons.

In response to the welcome speech of Ambassador Roballo of Argentina, Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin for Political Affairs gave a congratulatory address. Minister Kim said in part: “Korea and Argentina have been friends and partners walking on the same road and working together in various fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1962.”
Then he said, “In particular, Argentina accepted immigrants from Korea in 1965 with an open heart, and now there are about 30,000 Koreans living throughout the country.”

▲Former President Park Chul of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul (center) is flanked by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (right) and President Kim Hyung-dae of The Korea Post (left).

“Last September,” he reminisced, “with the support of President Macri, the then mayor of Buenos Aires, around 100,000 Koreans and Argentines gathered and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Korean immigration to Argentina and expressed their appreciation and friendship to each other.” (See further details at the end of this report.?Ed.)

The Argentine Independence Day celebration reception was attended by many important figures from both the Korean society and the international community as well as from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps (SDC).
Among them were Deputy Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs, Vice Mayor Don-young Cho of the Busan Metropolitan City, Honorary Consul General Hanyoung Kim of Bhutan, Executive Director Kang Sungzu of Korean Council on Latin Amerca and the Carbbean (KCLC),

▲Ambassadors, spouses and other guests enjoy the food and beverage as well as the company at the Argentine National Day reception

Director Gook-ung Gregorio Shim of the KCLAC and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps came many mission chiefs with their spouses, who included Ambassador Osvaldo Padilla of the Holy See (concurrently dean of the SDC) and in alphabetical order Ambassadors Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Francois Bontemps of Belgium, Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia, Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbert of Ecuador, Rolf Mafael of Germany, Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Niroshani Manisha Dias Abeywickrema Gunasekera of Sri Lanka, Joerg Alois Reding of Switzerland, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine, Charles John Hay of United Kingdom, Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Roballo of Argentina:
It is my great honor to address to you today on the occasion of the “two hundred anniversary of the declaration of the independence of the argentine republic”.
On May 25th 1810, a vast number of citizens decided in a “town meeting” to break relations with the Spanish crown, advocating for a free and independent state. This pronouncement was known as the “May revolution”.
Since then, after a six year process of negotiations, on July 9th 1816, the “Tucuman congress” adopted a resolution declaring the independence of the “united provinces of the river plate”, thus proclaiming to the world the birth of the argentine republic. During the last two centuries we have matured as a nation and as a society. We have gained the wisdom that age and experience bring, yet we have kept and still keep the strength and idealism of a young and potentially prosperous republic.
Now, we are entering into our third century with the knowledge that we have achieved greatness of our nation and contributed to the good of mankind and its environment.
We face the future with renewed dedication to the principles stated in our “declaration of independence” in 1816 and also, with renewed gratitude for those who -during the last 200 hundred years- pledged their lives, their fortunes and their honor in order to preserve our sovereignty, defend our independence, our rights and freedom.
We have come a long way after these last 200 years..!!
Today, after over forty years of genuine democracy, the argentine republic has a relevant role on the regional and international sphere of influence.
We have become a leading country standing for hemispheric integration, promoting social justice and multilateralism, defending human rights, democratic institutions and its values and engaged in a battle for international peace and security as well as for a cleaner and more comfortable world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As each year that passes is an instance for celebration, it is also a time to look back and reflect on our achievements and our failures and work on our objectives for the near future.

Argentina is one of Latin America’s largest and wealthiest countries, with abundant human and natural resources, highly diversified industries and a market of around 43 million people.
As a result of the normal democratic process and immediately after taking office in December 10th, 2015, the new president of the argentine republic, Mr. Mauricio Macri, began his administration undertaking major reforms with a high awareness of the economic and financial necessities that should be looked after quickly in order to permit the country to correct macroeconomic imbalances and improve the investment climate.
A flurry of decisions was the first step toward normalizing an economy that for years had been skewed by interventionist policies. In that sense, the new economic administration adopted measures to control the inflation rate; removed export taxes on certain main agricultural products (as wheat, beef and corn) and reduced those on soy beans, which is our biggest export commodity; reduced import restrictions; at the same time, currency controls were lifted, and, finally, the new administration reached deals with most of Argentina’s creditors, allowing the country to exit sovereign default and finish Argentina’s isolation from the international capital market.
All these significative measures and many others taken in foreign policy, political administration, market openness, investment opportunities, etc. have put Argentina back on tracks.
Today, seven months later, Argentina is again active in the international scene and the attention on doing business and investing in my country has increased. In this regard, we are delighted to see that several Korean companies are included among those foreign investors who have shown interest in the new flowing business opportunities. We appreciate and value the investments of companies such as POSCO with its development of mining projects in the northern provinces, and Samsung Electronics, with the expansion of its industrial manufacturing plants, and hope that others Korean companies could follow the same path.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962, we have enjoyed deep and fraternal bilateral relations with the republic of Korea. The Korean community in Argentina (around 30 thousand today) contributed highly to the mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries. I am happy to say that the bilateral relations continue to grow and expand.
Although high level officials from both countries have always been in regular contact, since the arrival of the new government last year, President Mauricio Marci -with the purposes of re-inserting the country into the international agenda- had given priority to the relationship between Argentina and the Republic of Korea.

In this regard, it is important to highlight the fruitful meetings that the Vice-President of Argentina, Mrs. Gabriela Michetti, held during her recent official visit to Seoul with Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and also during a courtesy call with President Park Geun-hee. The vice ministers of the economy, finance, industry; commerce and mining were among the members of her entourage.
The meetings held in that opportunity and the outcomes achieved led to a step forward in the consolidation of our partnership with the Republic of Korea, deepening the political dialogue, developing more economic cooperation and extending the support in new fields, such as cultural, education, environment, science & technology, etc.

Among other high level officials that visited Seoul, I would like to highlight the recent visit of the minister for modernization, Dr. Andres Ibarra, who met with H.E. Minister of Interior Hong Junsik; they signed an M.O.U. Of cooperation on e-government and set the dates for the visit of an important Korean technical delegation to Buenos Aires to work on this matter.
Also, it is important to mention that the next meeting of the “mechanism of high level political consultations” between our two foreign ministries will take place soon in Buenos Aires and -hopefully- a new chapter of the “joint economic & commercial committee meeting” is scheduled to take place in Seoul during the last quarter of 2016.
I highly appreciate sharing this humble reception with you today, with the hope that our third century will bring a significate improvement in our diplomatic, social, cultural, economic and commercial relations with Korea and the entire world.
It is a great privilege for me to be representing my country before this energetic, exciting and “pali ? pali” korea.
Let me invite you all to enjoy the high quality of our wines, provided generously by Korean importer companies such as “Shindong wine”, “Keumyang international”, “world wine” and “TAPEX international”, also argentine chocolate company e-max trading, who are always ready to cooperate and promote our products in the Korean market. To all of them goes my deep appreciation.
Long live the friendship and long lasting relations between Korea and Argentina.

Excerpts from the congratulatory speech of Deputy Minister Kim Hyoung-zhin:
It is a great honor and a pleasure for me to join you in celebrating the 200th anniversary of the independence of the Argentine Republic. On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the Government and people of Argentina.
July 9 of 1816 is a historic day on which Argentina succeeded in declaring its independence thanks to the revolutionary movement that had begun six years before, in May 1810. Regional leaders assembled at the Congress of Tucum?n and declared the independence of Argentina. As General San Mart?n, a national hero of Argentina, spread the flames of independence across the Andes Mountains to Chile and Peru, Argentina’s independence was indeed a significant step towards achieving freedom, equality, and solidarity in the Latin American continent.
Over the past two centuries, Argentina has grown into a country that truly represents Latin America. It is called “the land of God’s blessing” thanks to its vast landmass, and its tango, wine, beef, and football have gained worldwide recognition.

Currently, the world has its eyes on the transition that is taking place in Argentina after President Macri took office last December. Argentina has opened its doors and returned to the global financial market through transparent and trust-based reformation policies. It has issued state bonds worth $16.5 billion and succeeded in securing large-scale investment. It is also strengthening its position in the diplomatic arena through various initiatives, such as its push for full membership in the OECD and bid to host the 2018 G20 Summit.
Distinguished guests,
Korea and Argentina have been friends and partners walking on the same road and working together in various fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1962. In particular, Argentina accepted immigrants from Korea in 1965 with an open heart, and now there are about 30,000 Koreans living throughout the country. Last September, with the support of President Macri, the then mayor of Buenos Aires, around 100,000 Koreans and Argentines gathered and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Korean immigration to Argentina and expressed their appreciation and friendship to each other.
In some aspects, cooperation between Korea and Argentina is not strong as it should be and has yet to reach its potential. But in May, Argentina’s Vice President Michetti visited Korea and paid a courtesy call on President Park and expressed her will to strengthen bilateral partnership. Moreover, Argentina’s Modernization Minister Ibarra recently visited Korea to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the public administration sector under the state modernization plan that the new government is highly committed to, and the Korean delegation for e-government visited Argentina just last week. With the inauguration of the Macri administration, new opportunities are being created to forge a stronger partnership between our two countries.

At the end of the last June, Kyore Beun, Deputy Minister for Cultural Cooperation of Argentina, attended the High Level Forum on Korea-Latin America Partnership held in Seoul. At a lecture for Korean students, the Deputy Minister, as a 28-year-old second generation Korean-Argentine, mentioned that, although he was born and raised in Argentina, he formed his identity by combining the strengths of Koreans and Argentines and that he wishes to become the bridge between the two countries by implementing initiatives that boost cultural exchange. I believe that Deputy Minister Beun’s story shows us the direction of the future partnership between the two countries. I hope that Korea and Argentina draw on each other’s advantages and build a future of co-prosperity.
Distinguished guests,
There is an old saying in Argentina that goes “M?s ven cuatro ojos que dos,” meaning you can see better with four eyes than two. It reminds me of a Korean saying: “two hands are better than one.”
I hope that everyone who is here today and the peoples of Korea and Argentina help each other to build a future together and forge an ever closer, stronger and mutually beneficial relationship.
Once again, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you on the 200th anniversary of Argentina’s independence and my best wishes for the endless prosperity of the Argentine Republic and for the everlasting friendship between Korea and Argentina.
Thank you. Muchas gracias.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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