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Ambassadors, senior diplomats visit Samcheok in the East CoastTo inspect Korean tourist assets

Many ambassadors, deputy heads of mission and other senior diplomats visited the Gracia Resort Hotel on the cool East Coast beach of the Samcheok City in the Gangwon Province on Aug. 13, 2016 to learn the Korean tourist assets in the region.

▲Visiting members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps pose with Chairperson Yeo (9th from left) and Ambassador Petar Andonov (dean of visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps) on her right.

The participants included Ambassadors Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana, Milan Lajciak of Slovakia, Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain, Adalgisa maria Soares Ximenes of East Timor, Sharifzoda Yusuf of Tajikistan and many other senior diplomats, including Deputy Heads of Mission Bakhter Ibragimov of Uzbekistan and Panko Panov of Bulgaria.

▲Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria and National Assemblyman Lee Chul-kyu (seated at left and right, respectively at the front of the table on the right-hand side) are seen with other ambassadors and leaders of the Samcheok City at an open-air reception at a pine grove on the beach of the Samcheok City on Aug. 19, 2016.

▲Chairperson Yeo Mung-joo of the Gratia Hotel in Samcheok speaks welcoming the visiting ambassadors and other members of the Diplomatic Corps. At left is famed MBC TV Anchor Choi Il-ku and at right is Young-woong Lee (Bob), the second son of Chairperson Yeo, who performed the role of an interpreter that day.

It was Saturday at the peak of summer holiday season in Korea and the traffic congestion on the way to Samcheok was much worse than had been anticipated?taking double the time normally needed to reach there that was little over three hours’ run by limousine buses at normal times.

▲Assemblyman Lee Chul-kyu is making a welcome speech to the visiting ambassadors and other senior diplomats at the famed pine grove in front of the Gracia Hotel on the beach of Samcheok City on the East Coast.

However, what took place on the beach in front of the Gracia Boutique Hotel under tall pine trees more than fully compensated for the boring bus ride on the way there from Seoul.

▲Ambassador Petar Andonov (left) presents a Plaque of Appreciation to Chairperson Yeo Mung-joo for her invitation of the ambassadors and other members of the Diplomatic Corps to Samcheok.

At a luncheon prepared by the host, Ms. Yeo Mung-joo (owner of Gracia and Santa Maria Pool Villa Hotel to be built), said in her welcoming remarks, “This visit by the Excellencies and other distinguished diplomats here today is a true grace to the City of Samcheok and I will do my level best to fully meet the expectations of all the distinguished guests with the most wonderful new hotel, the Samcheok Santa Maria Hotel, to be built here soon.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this article.)

▲Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post briefly introduces Chairperson Yeo and her son, Xxx at the welcome luncheon Chairperson Yeo hosted for the ambassadors and other senior diplomats.

In response to the welcome speech, Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria (most senior of all the ambassadors that day) gave an impromptu return speech. Ambassador Andonov expressed his gratitude to the host for the kind invitation of the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps to visit the East Coast as well as to the hotel.

▲Ambassador Sharifzoda Yusuf of Tajikistan, DCM Bakhtier Ibragimov of Uzbekistan and Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (center, right and left, foreground) are selecting their foods at a buffet luncheon in the middle of a pine grove.

▲Former Ambassador Cho Myung-haeng to Nigeria and other countries of the world (second from left) offers a toast with Ambassador Sylvestre Koussai Bile of Cote I’Voire (second from right) and other ambassadors.

He said that the tour contributed greatly to the understanding of the local tourist assets of the East Coast of Korea as well as the Santa Maria Hotel of Chairperson Yeo.

▲Traditional Korean classic music singers present a number of famous Korean folks songs.

▲Traditional Korean fan dance performed by women dancers in the attire of Korean Yangban (nobility) class.

Then there was a congratulatory speech by National Assemblyman Lee Chul-kyu who highly praised the efforts made by Chairperson Yeo for the promotion of understanding and friendship between Korea and the countries represented by the visiting ambassadors and other senior diplomats.

▲Ambassador Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire (left) is making a congratulatory speech as ‘second-in-command of the visiting members of the Diplomatic Corps.


“Samcheok is one of the most beautiful resort cities in the world as well as in Korea,” assured Rep. Lee, “and I would say that the Samcheok Jangho Santa Maria Pool Village Hotel to be built by Chairperson Yeo would give the fullest satisfaction to all the visiting foreign tourists as well as the Excellencies here today and all the other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.”

▲Ambassador Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain observes the sandy beach of the Wonpyeong Bathing Place of the Samcheok City of the East Coast.


Then he said, “I would like to solicit all the ambassadors and other senior diplomats here today to visit the wonderful city of Samcheok more often and to speak well of the tourist assets of the Samcheok city after the Excellencies all return to your homelands after hour successful tour of duty in Korea.”

▲Visiting ambassadors and other senior diplomats pose for the camera at the construction site of the new deluxe hotel to be built by Chairperson Yeo. She offered complimentary accommodation for the ambassadors when the deluxe accommodation facilities are completed.

Seasoned MBC TV Anchor Choi Il-ku performed the role of MC at the welcome luncheon reception that day, which added to the high quality of introduction of the tourist hotel properties of Chairperson Yeo and also the tourist assets of the Samcheok City.

▲Ambassador and Mrs. Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain with their cute daughter.

Also present at the welcome luncheon for the visiting ambassadors and other senior members of the Diplomatic Corps were for former Korean Ambassador Cho Myung-haeng (to Nigeria and a number of other countries), Director-General Gong Byung-young of Ministry of Education Bureau of Education for Education, Security and Information, Chairman Do Yongbok of Saratoga Co. Ltd., and President Kim Ho-il of BS Today.

▲A panoramic view of the luncheon venue under pine trees.

Shortly before the luncheon began, there were performances presented by noted Korean vocalist
Tenor Kim Ji-Ho and traditional Korean dances by Korean Classic Music Maesto Mrs. Bong Bok-nam and a number of other Korean classic music performers of her troupe.

▲In the foreground are, clockwise from left, Seoul Bureau Chief Birnjark Ahn of German ARD TV, Vice Chairman Choi Nam-suk and Reporter Chung Ji-hye of The Korea Post and Mrs. Ahn.

Star of the day, in the opinion of many Korean guests that day, was the cute little daughter of Ambassador and Mrs. Gongzalo Ortiz of Spain in Seoul.
In spite of the cool beach breezes, the summer heat was still there although the temperatures in the Samcheok and other East Coast regions of Korea were three or four degrees lower than other areas of Korea.

▲Ambassador Elizabeth Nicol of Ghana enjoying the cool air on the beach to her heart’s content after a long bus ride on the way to the beach from Seoul, which was extremely congested due to long holidays.

While adult guests hesitated to take any time out of the busy schedule, the cute young lady of Ambassador and Mrs. Ortiz quickly changed into her bathing suit and jumped into the water on the beautiful sandy beach and had her fill of the coolness of the waves on the beach.

▲Daughter of the Spanish ambassador was very quick in doing justice to the cool water on the beach on the sizzling summer day.


▲Ambassadors and other senior diplomats visit the construction site of the Samcheok Jangho Santa Maria Pool Villa Hotel.

However, the look of her satisfaction with the coolness in the water, obviously made all the guests to forget the sizzling summer heat for a moment. It was pity that due to limited time no other guests could enjoy the coolness of the water on the beach.

▲Noted Korean vocalist Tenor Kim Ji-Ho presents songs doing justice to the visiting ambassadors and other senior diplomats who have had a long bus ride.

Excerpts from the speech of Chairperson Yeo:
Excellencies, other senior diplomats and madams, it is a great pleasure and honor to meet with such distinguished members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, who have taken time out of their busy schedule to add grace to my humble properties here today.
It is a very long way from Seoul to Samcheok and I am all the more grateful to the Excellcneis and Madams for the trouble they have taken to oblige me with their kind visit.
I am sure that from now on the City of Samcheok would sparkle more brightly than ever before thanks to the kind visit made by Your Excellencies and Madams.
At this time, I give my heartfelt pledge that I will do my best to fully meet the expectations of all the visitors here today by building the best and most comfortable resort hotel facilities here in Samcheok, which we will soon visit after the luncheon.
I would like to assure that I would invite all the distinguished guests here today to visit our property again when we have a ground-breaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction of the Jangho Santa Maria Pool Villa Hotel. And I would like express my hope that the relationship formed here today with the Excellncies and Madams will not be just a passing one but an everlasting relationship that will remain throughout the rest of my life.
On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere hopes that there will be everlasting happiness as well as the best of health for all the members of the Diplomatic Corps gracing us with their kind visit.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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