The Chairman of the Saeima (the Latvian Parliament) Foreign Affairs Committee Ojārs Ēriks Kalniņš, Deputy Chairman Rihards Kols, a member of the committee Artis Rasmanis, and its other representatives are making an official visit to South Korea from 17 to 21 October on an invitation from Shim Jae-kwon, Head of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the South Korean National Assembly. The visit to Korea is organised by the Korean Parliament and the Embassy of Latvia.
The delegation visited the Korean Demilitarised Zone where they were presented with the current state of affairs in the border area between the divided Koreas. Since March 2016, any movement of people and goods has been suspended between the countries, and large numbers of troops have been deployed in the zone.
The Saeima delegation also had a business meeting with members of the CURO Group and SK Technologies telecommunications company. The head of the delegation encouraged both companies to invest in Latvia and launch cooperation with Latvian businesses. SK Technologies were forwarded an invitation from a Latvian telecommunications company LMT to cooperate in research and innovation, with a special emphasis on Latvia’s interest to cooperate on harnessing of 5G technologies.
A number of meetings took place at the Korean Parliament – with the First Deputy Speaker Shim Jaecheol, the Head of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Shim Jae-kwon, and members of the commission, as well as with a former Chairman of the Korean-Latvian parliamentary cooperation group, Byeaon Jae-il. The meetings dealt with bilateral issues and cooperation in multilateral formats. The parties agreed on closer cooperation between the Latvian and South Korean parliaments and reviewed modalities for organizing a visit to South Korea by the President of Latvia and a business delegation – the first visit of this level during the 25 years of diplomatic relations between both countries.
At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the delegation met with the Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hyeong Jin, with whom views were exchanged on the issues of current importance for political, economic, cultural and educational cooperation. The issue of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine was also addressed in the discussion, with the Latvian side reiterating condemnation of such actions.
The visit also included a round table on security challenges in Europe and Asia. The event was arranged by the Embassy of Latvia in association with the ASAN Institute for Policy Studies and brought together a number of foreign diplomats, including the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, the ASAN leadership and researchers, as well as the Latvian delegation.
In conclusion of their stay, the Latvian parliamentarians will visit Jeju province.
The aim of the first visit of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Committee to South Korea was the promotion of inter-parliamentary cooperation and an exchange of views on the matters highly important for bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
Diplomatic relations with South Korea were established on 22 October 1991, while the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Riga was opened in 2013, and the Embassy of Latvia in Seoul – in 2015. Pēteris Vaivars was posted as the Ambassador of Latvia to South Korea on 15 January 2016. The Head of Mission at the Embassy of South Korea in Latvia is Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Kyong Ho Min. The Ambassador of South Korea resides in Stockholm.