The following are excerpts from a congratulatory speech of Ambassador Gabor Csaba of Hungary in Seoul delivered on the occasion of accreditation of President Chang Jekuk of Dongsuh University in Busan as honorary consul of Hungary for Busan on Oct. 5, 2016.?Ed.
Mayor Suh Byung-su, President Chang Jekuk, distinguished members of the Consular Corps, distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to be here today and participate in the inauguration ceremony of President Chang Jekuk to be Hungary’s very first Honorary Consul in the great city of Busan. It is with a lot of anticipation that I look forward to working together with our new colleague and ally here to realize what I consider is a tremendous potential for the further development of my country’s relations with the Republic of Korea in the years to come.
The foundations for more results are indeed very solid and fertile. The first country from the Eastern Bloc to establish full diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea in February 1989, Hungary has become one of Korea’s most important partners in the heart of Europe. The close ties that have developed over the past quarter-century or so derive from the many values we share, the friendship and trust we feel for each other, the many historical parallels, especially the experience of having had to fight for our freedom and independence against greater powers for centuries, as well as the similar positions we take on most of the key issues our world is facing. When it comes to matters of global or regional security, the scourge of terrorism and other challenges, our governments speak the same language and are committed to jointly shouldering their international responsibility. Importantly, Hungary, also as a member of the European Union since 2004, has been unequivocal in its support for your government’s efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and bring about the peaceful unification of the two Koreas.
The years since 1989 have also witnessed the dynamic development of Hungary-Korea bilateral ties in all areas. The annual volume of our two-way trade has been hovering around the $2 billion mark and such major Korean companies as Samsung Electronics, Hankook Tire and Hanon Systems (formerly known as Halla Viston Climate Control) have invested $2,2 billion in Hungary, which offers them a host of benefits including a hardworking and innovative workforce, a central location in Europe and a very hospitable business environment. Our cooperation has been mutually fruitful as demonstrated by the fact that each of the large Korean companies has been expanding their operations in Hungary, where they employ more than 20,000 people. I am happy to share with you that a month ago Samsung SDI announced its decision to build a major plant outside Budapest to produce batteries for electric vehicles. In addition to these strong business ties, it is also relevant to point out that we have worked together in science and technology having set up jointly operated research laboratories. Cooperation in higher education has emerged as another rapidly growing area with more than 350 Korean students studying at our prestigious universities right now. What is more, we are very glad to see that there is a growing appetite on each side for the other’s culture as manifested by the vast number of K-culture fan clubs in Hungary or the great prestige of Hungarian classical music here.
All this leads me to conclude that our achievements are impressive but what’s even more important are the great prospects that lie ahead. While our diplomatic efforts have so far been largely centered on Seoul and its vicinity, it is the highest time we further expanded our horizon. When doing so, the obvious and logical next step is Busan, one of the most important and most exciting places in Korea, where we are now joining a group of several other countries with established diplomatic presence. Whether it is further business opportunities, for instance in the automotive sector, or an increased emphasis on SMEs, or R&D cooperation, or the promotion of Hungarian culture, I am convinced that the opportunities are great and plentiful in the southeast of your country. If we, however, want to make a difference and realize the potential that Hungary-Busan relations may very well have in store for us, it is a must that we have committed partners and friends to work with.
It is my conviction that in President Chang Jekuk we have found the right man for what I believe is a demanding, yet utterly rewarding job. Having discussed with him several times how we could achieve our objectives in and around Busan, I have no doubt that he is the best man we could ask to be our main representative here. His open and friendly personality, his vast expertise in working with other people and different cultures, as well as his recognition and popularity as a leader guarantee that his attempts to strengthen our bilateral relations will meet with success. I am certain that in his new capacity, Honorary Consul Chang Jekuk can give a boost to our business, economic, cultural and educational ties, help us make the necessary connections, and assist us in better identifying the opportunities that we can seize here. In addition to a range of other strengths of Busan, we are keenly aware of its importance as a business hub and as a cultural center. It is also important to note that from now on we have a consular office quite far away from Seoul where Hungarian citizens can be assisted in a case of emergency.
It is with all these high expectations that I look forward to an intensive cooperation with Honorary Consul Chang Jekuk, above all to significantly more exchange between Hungary and Busan than ever before, and to a much strengthened Hungarian presence in this very important region of Korea. I am hopeful that Hungary’s new Honorary Consul, Dr. Chang Jekuk will help us ensure that Busan finally occupies a place in the maps of Hungarian foreign policy that adequately reflect its weight and importance.
Thank you for your attention.
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