Ambassador and U Thant Sin of the Union of Myanmar in Seoul said, “To regain independence, all national races, together with patriotic leaders, sacrificed their lives with an untiring determination and diligence under the guidance of our national hero General Aung San, who was the father of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi today.” Speaking at a gala reception he and Madam U hosted at the spacious Crystal Ballroom of the prestigious Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Jan. 9, 2020 in celebration of the 72nd Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Ambassaded U then added, “Due to the unified effort of our people, Myanmar regained its independence and emerged as the sovereign state, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on 4th January 1948.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this report.)
The statement was seconded to by one of the honored Korean guests at the celebration, Deputy Minister Kim Gunn of Foreign Affairs of Korea who attended the reception on belf of the Korean government.
Expressiong his congratualtions on the most auspicious occasion of Myanmar, Kim said, “Last year was a truly remarkable one year in the relations between our two countries. President Moon Jae-in’s State Visit to Myanmar in September was the first by a Korean President in seven years. And State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visited Korea on the occasion of the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in November.”
Then he said, “During the Summits held on both occasions, President Moon Jae-in and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi agreed to further cement the ties of cooperation in a wide-range of areas.” Then he said, “The two countries agreed to firmly put in place infrastructure and institutional foundation needed to expand our interaction in the economic field. The Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex, a project symbolic of our two countries' cooperation, is expected to contribute significantly to our shared growth.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this report.)
The reception was attended by many distinguished guest s from all walks of life as well as from the diplomatic and international communities in Korea. Besides Deputy Minister Kim were many government, business, social and media representatives, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, celebrating the 35th anniversary this year and publishing five media outlets, 3 in English and 2 in Korean, including www.koreapost.com (English) and www.koreapost.co.kr (Korean).
Attendance from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was especially large and included Ambassadors Xxx xxx xxx (Enter 10 or more ambassadors in attendance)
From the Korean business community came many CEOs and senior managers who included xxx xxx xxx (Enter 10 Korean business representatives actively engaged in Korea-Myanmar economic cooperation.)
Located at a geopolitical key point linking China, India and ASEAN, and blessed with a vast territory, rich natural resources and capable human resources, Myanmar is set to become a linchpin for future growth and development in Southeast Asia.
According to the Korean Ministry of Foreign affairs, Myanmar, boasting a splendid history and culture, shares many things in common with Korea in that both countries value traditions, courtesy, and "Jeong" (Than Yaw Zin in Myanmar). With such similarities as common ground, since the establishment of their diplomatic ties in May 1975, the Republic of Korea and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar have continued to tighten their bonds of cooperation spanning such fields as the political, economic and socio-cultural spheres.
Last year, particularly, under our flagship initiative, the ‘New Southern Policy’, high-level officials’ mutual visit between the two countries were frequently carried out, and the ground-breaking ceremony for ROK-Myanmar Friendship Bridge (Yangon-Dala Bridge), which will serve as a symbol of the friendship and cooperation of the two countries, took place with the presence of the State Counsellor H.E. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In addition, a number of cultural performances were successfully held, thanks to the Myanmar people’s love for Korean culture.
This year, by taking advantage of such momentum, the Embassy will do its utmost to further develop bilateral relations. In particular, as ROK-ASEAN Commemorative Summit and ROK-Mekong Summit will be held in Korea in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the ROK-ASEAN dialogue relations in 2019, the Embassy will work actively to achieve mutually beneficial results for both the ROK and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the “three pillars” (Peace and Security, Prosperity and Partnership, People and Planet) of the ROK’s New Southern Policy.
Since its opening, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Myanmar has been tireless in its efforts to nurture the sense of friendliness and partnership between our two countries, bearing mindful of the importance of promoting not only inter-governmental collaboration, but also people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in the cultural and academic spheres. What is more, the Embassy will do its utmost to provide possible assistance to facilitate the business activities of Korean nationals in Myanmar and protect of their rights and interests.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador U of Myanmar:
A very good evening to all of you.
Today, we celebrate the 72nd Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. On behalf of the Embassy of Myanmar, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all the guests presence here today. My special thanks goes to His Excellency Kim Gunn, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea. Your Excellency’s presence demonstrates the great support to the bilateral relations between our two countries.
First of all, I would like to explain briefly of the background of Myanmar’s Independence. Myanmar, which had existed as an independent and sovereign country throughout the history, lost its independence in November 1885 and went under the colonial rule for many decades.
To regain independence, all national races together with patriotic leaders, sacrificed their life with untiring determination and diligence, under the guidance of our national hero General Aung San, who was the father of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
Due to the unified effort of our people, Myanmar regained its independence and emerged as the sovereign state, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on 4th January 1948.
The present government has committed to build a democratic federal union so that entire Myanmar people can fully enjoy justice, freedom, equal rights and self-determination.
Diplomatic relations between Myanmar and Korea was established in May 1975, so that this year marks a significant year for our two countries as we celebrate the 45thAnniversary. As Asian countries, Myanmar and Korea enjoy many commonalities including cultural affinities. We also share the experiences of our struggles for independence and democracy.
In recent years, the political interaction at the highest level has increased. In terms of high-level political exchanges, we were happy to host the visit of President Moon Jae-in in last September. During the state visit, we were able to sign 5 significant MoUs on Trade, Investment and Finance and 1 Framework Agreement on the establishment of a Korea Desk in Myanmar. Furthermore, Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex (KMIC) project in northern part of Yangon with the cost of 110 million USD was also launched during the visit.
In late November last year, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visited Korea to attend the 30thAnniversary of ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit and 1stMekong-ROK Summit. During the visit, two leaders yet again witnessed the signing of 3 MoUs focusing on cooperation in fisheries, TVET and environmental sectors.
Myanmar and Korea have great potential to promote investment and trade sectors. Despite the current global economic uncertainties, Myanmar economy is projected to grow by 6.6 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank, a tad higher than its 6.5 percent projection for the last year.
The trade volume between our two countries has been steadily increasing year by year. In terms of investment, Korea stands as the 6th largest foreign investor with 4 billion USD invested in 200 projects, which include Myanmar-Korea Friendship Bridge and KMIC.
Taking this opportunity, I wish to express our deep appreciation to Korean Government for extending its assistance to uplift the economy and create job opportunities for the people of Myanmar.
People to People exchanges are key to our bilateral relations. To promote tourism sector between our two countries, Korean tourists holding ordinary passports have been granted visa exemption by Myanmar since September 2018. Arrival of Korean tourists has increased to 80 percent in 2019 compared to the same period prior to granting the visa exemption status.
The commencement of another direct flight between Yangon and Incheon by Myanmar Airways International last month is yet another milestone in people-to-people connectivity between our two countries.
We welcome the New Southern Policy of the Republic of Korea which aims to elevate Korea’s relationship with ASEAN member countries. While we congratulate the Government of Korea for the successful hosting of the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, we would like to reaffirm our strong commitment to enhance our bilateral ties and cooperation in the years ahead for the mutual benefit of our two countries and peoples.
Before I conclude, I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to all distinguished guests for your kind presence this evening out of your busy schedules. And I also would like to extend my deep appreciation to my colleagues and friends for their kind support to this event.
Finally, may I invite all of you to join me in a toast: “To the peace and prosperity of Myanmar and Korea and the happiness of our people.” Gamsahabnida.
Excerpts from the congratulatory speech of Deputy Minister Kim:
On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of Korea, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations on the 72nd Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. I am truly honored to be here today.
As we are all aware, Myanmar has been at the very heart of the splendid Buddhist civilization since the era of the Bagan Kingdom. Myanmar’s wonderful cultural heritage, as well as the warmth of its people, attract visitors from all around the world. Korea is no exception – indeed, the number of Korean visitors to Myanmar is expected to surpass 100,000 for the first time in the year 2019. With the inclusion of the ancient city of Bagan as a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, I am confident that Myanmar will see even bigger numbers of people visiting in the years to come. And I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Myanmar once again on the inscription of Bagan as a world heritage site.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Myanmar. Over the past decades, our two countries have continued to strengthen the partnership at all levels.
Last year was a truly remarkable one year in the relations between our two countries. President Moon Jae-in’s State Visit to Myanmar in September was the first by a Korean President in seven years. And State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi visited Korea on the occasion of the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in November.
During the Summits held on both occasions, President Moon Jae-in and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi agreed to further cement the ties of cooperation in a wide-range of areas. The two countries agreed to firmly put in place infrastructure and institutional foundation needed to expand our interaction in the economic field. The Korea-Myanmar Industrial Complex, a project symbolic of our two countries' cooperation, is expected to contribute significantly to our shared growth.
The two countries have also further strengthened people-to-people exchanges. The number of Koreans visiting Myanmar increased more than 80% in first half of 2019, thanks to Myanmar’s visa waiver program. And we anticipate that the number will increase still further with the launch of direct flights between Yangon and Incheon offered by Myanmar Airways International (MAI) last December.
The two Leaders agreed to pursue in harmony Korea's New Southern Policy and Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan, which share in common the core values of people, peace and prosperity. I firmly believe that our combined efforts will indeed mature still further on the path ahead.,
I believe you may have heard of Project K, a seven-member boy band in Myanmar. Combining K-pop with traditional Myanmar dance, they currently enjoy great popularity in Myanmar. In fact, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has even personally declared herself to be a fan of them. I believe this is an excellent example of collaboration in the arts field between Myanmar and Korea playing a vital role in truly bringing our peoples closer together. The recent co-production of “A Flower above the Clouds”starring actors from both countries has proved to be another fruitful initiative in our joint endeavors in the cultural realm.
Given the similarities in our people’s approach to life as seen in “Than Yaw Zin”, which is very akin to the Korean concept of “Jeong”, a sense of deep affection for our friends and family, I look forward to even stronger bonds between our two countries.
Myanmar, with a population of more than 50 million people, is a country blessed with outstanding human and natural resources. Through major economic reforms led by the NLD government, Myanmar has achieved rapid growth of 6 to 7 percent in recent years.
There’s a saying in Myanmar that: “A good tree can lodge ten thousand birds.” Myanmar’s continued steps toward reform and democratic transition will open up a future of greater prosperity not only for the people of Myanmar, but for its neighbors and friends as well. And Korea will stand firm as a trusted friend on Myanmar’s journey towards an even brighter future.
Lastly, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Ambassador U Thant Sin and all those at the Myanmar Embassy for their tireless devotion to further nurturing the thriving friendship between our two countries.
I would now like to propose a toast – “To the lasting ties of friendship between Myanmar and Korea.”