Ambassador Milan Lajciak of Slovakia in Seoul said that the diplomatic relations between Korea and Slovakia were established on the first day of independence of the Slovak Republic and that they have trodden an intensive development path, which has been dominated by close economic cooperation during the last decade.
Speaking at a reception he and Mrs. Lajciak hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on Sept. 8, 2016 in celebration of the Slovak National Day and also the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Ambassador Lajciak said, “Korea enjoys an extraordinary position in Slovakia due to the strong economic presence - total investment over 2.5 billion EUR of nearly 100 Korean companies registered in Slovakia led by Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics, representing more than half of all investments from Asian countries and with trade volume over 4.5 billion EUR.” Then said noted that over 3000 Korean experts are working in Slovakia and more than 30 thousand Koreans visit Slovakia on yearly basis. (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this article.)
There were many distinguished guests from all segments of Korean society as well as from the diplomatic and foreign communities.
Among them were Deputy Minister Cho June-hyuck of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Public Relations, President Charlie Bang of Ubsta, President Kim Joo-won of Mobile DST, Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean media) and the leading figures from various segments of Korean society and international communities, including that of the Slovak people in Korea.
Presence of the representatives from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was also very large, and included Ambassadors William Paterson of Australia, Guadalupe Palomeque de Taboada of Bolivia, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Tomas Husak of Czech Republic, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Askar Beshoimov of Kyrgyzstan, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Jan Ole Grevstad of Norway, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Omrie Michael Golley of Sierra Leone, Gopnzalo Ortiz of Spain, Anne Hoglund of Sweden and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Lajciak:
I am honored to welcome you at the Reception on the occasion of the Slovak Constitution Day and on the occasion of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
I believe that today´s evening will be as commemorative as friendly, with the atmosphere you will enjoy and that will leave on all of you, as I hope, pleasant memories.
In my short address I will touch briefly three important aspects that are closely connected to this solemn event.
Slovakia – some basics and attractions
Slovakia became a sovereign state on 1st January 1993 by the very peaceful splitting process of the former Czechoslovakia, the country that was a home of two nations - Czechs and Slovaks.
Declaration of independent Slovak state was preceded by the adoption of the Slovak Constitution on 1st September 1992 and this year we commemorate its 24th anniversary.
From that time a lot of things have changed in my country and we can say that as on domestic so on international front Slovakia has been a successful story, sometimes even branded as a model for other countries in transition.
There are many characteristics and features, which could be mentioned about my country and I am quite sure that if I would start questioning some surprising attractions – for instance - what country has the world biggest car production with regard to population, the world highest number of castles and chateaux per capita, the biggest density of mineral springs and waters, wide diverse nature, highly rich culture with long traditions – many of you would hardly say Slovakia.
Yes, indeed, that is my country and the most fresh-one feature might be that Slovakia holds currently „the Presidency of the European Union”.
Slovak EU Presidency – challenges and priorities
After 12 years of EU membership Slovakia is for the first time honored to lead the European Union. Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union is the culmination of our integration journey, symbolic and important. We can say without any hesitation that EU is our home, the Euro is our currency and the Schengen is our area.
Slovakia has assumed its Presidency role in very challenging times. In the past couple of years, the Union has faced a number of serious crises and has been struggling with many unprecedented internal and external challenges - such as migration and refugee crisis, growing scale of terrorism, continuing conflicts in the neighborhood, Greek bailout issues and the last but not the least the outcome of the United Kingdom referendum.
They have undoubtedly impacted the overall shape of EU but also formed moods of EU population.
The essential role of the Slovak EU Presidency is to concentrate efforts on regaining the trust of EU citizens to EU institutions, to contribute into solutions that will bring tangible results into daily life of EU citizens and to work on long-term perspective of the European project. In this respect our Presidency includes a lot of responsibilities.
Slovakia and Republic of Korea – growing dynamics of relations
The last but not the least I would like to mention the broad cooperation and growing dynamics of the Slovak - Korea relations.
Diplomatic relations between our countries were established on the first day of independence of the Slovak Republic and have undergone intensive development path. During the last decade they have been dominated by our economic cooperation.
Korea enjoys an extraordinary position in Slovakia due to the strong economic presence - total investment over 2.5 billion EUR of nearly 100 Korean companies registered in Slovakia led by Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics, represent more than half of all investment from Asian countries and with trade volume over 4.5 billion EUR. Over 3000 Korean experts are working in Slovakia and more than 30 thousand Koreans visit Slovakia on yearly basis.
Recent boom in intensity of the relations is impressive and can serve as an evidence for sincere and constructive cooperation. High level visits and meetings are addressing all spheres of our interests. Both countries are looking to tap on the existing basis of cooperation and to explore new opportunities in effective ways. The agenda of this year is to launch intensive scientific cooperation as well as the new, more structural framework of economic cooperation.
I should not omit to mention our supportive cooperation on international agenda and successfully growing collaboration format “Visegrad 4 + Korea” that started two years ago under the Slovak V4 Presidency.
We believe that the next year will be another milestone of our relations and we will be able to welcome in Seoul the official visit of the Slovak President that will bring another impetus for moving our relationship further ahead.