By Feature Editor Kim Hyung-dae
The opening ceremony of the 2020-21 Korea-Russia Year of Mutual Exchange was co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation on March 24, marking the 30th anniversary of Korea-Russia diplomatic relations.
The ceremony is the first ministerial-level face-to-face event held as an extension of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, which has been mainly held online since last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and Russian Federal Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and 50 VIPs from both countries, including Kwon Gu-hoon, chairman of the Northern Economic Cooperation Committee, and Mikhail Shvydkoy, special representative of the Russian president in the international cultural cooperation field, attended the event.
In his opening speech, Foreign Minister Chung stressed that the two countries have been working together on a permanent peace journey on the Korean Peninsula as strategic partners and called for unwavering support and cooperation from the Russian government and the people.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov also said in a congratulatory speech at the opening ceremony that the two countries have established a solid and reciprocal foundation for cooperation in various fields, including security, economy, culture and education.
In particular, the minister expressed expectations that various diplomatic commemorative projects under the slogan of "The Future Together with Friendship and Trust" will provide a great momentum for the development of bilateral relations in the future.
The opening ceremony included a joint jazz performance by artists from both countries, a screening of messages celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations by cultural and sports figures such as Jo Su-mi and Son Yeon-jae, and a variety of cultural events.
In a related development, Alexander Masaltsev, the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Korea, said in his contribution to Fire Prevention News on Feb. 25, “This year marks the 31st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Korea and Russia. Until now, the two countries have maintained various public-private exchanges and cooperative relations.
“In particular, I think it is very meaningful that the Russian Kamob Ka-32 helicopter of RHF has played an important role in firefighting, saving lives, transporting patients, and freight transportation in the Korea Forest Service, Korea Coast Guard, and city and provincial fire headquarters.” The Russian Kamob Ka-32 helicopter was imported by RHF, led by CEO Kim Soo-eon.
Masaltsev said that in Korea, the Kamob helicopter is well-known as a "fire-out helicopter," but in Russia, it is more famous as a "non-flying weather-free helicopter." It is recognized for its excellent performance and high reliability.
The Kamob Ka-32 helicopter was first delivered to South Korea in 1993. The Korea Forest Service introduced the helicopter for the first time at that time, and over the past 28 years, it has contributed to the protection of people's lives and property by performing duties such as saving lives in Gangwon-do and flood areas.
In particular, a large forest fire in Gangwon-do in April 2019 caused a lot of casualties and property damage, and at that time, the Kamob Ka-32 helicopter carried out a fire suppression mission in strong winds of up to 26m/s.
“Imagine the day when Russia's newest Ka-32A11M helicopter will be active in Gangwon Province. This will not only mean providing reliable helicopters to Gangwon Fire Station, but also contribute greatly to further developing the relationship between the two countries, which marks the 31st anniversary of diplomatic ties,” said Masaltsev.