Ambassador Krzysztof Majka of Poland in Seoul said that there are a lot of exchanges and events slated between Korea and Poland in the New Year. Speaking at a recent interview with The Korea Post media Ambassador Majka said, “At the Embassy we also have ambitious plans for the next year, including a Polish picnic in downtown Seoul to showcase Polish culture and products, and make Seoullites get to know us better.” Excerpts from the interview follow.—Ed.
Question: Do you have any promotional plans for further development of relations between Korea and your country, including the possible dispatch of an economic delegation to Korea?
Answer: `In 2017 there are already some plans of high level visits from Poland to Korea. For example, at the beginning of the year we hope to welcome in Seoul Polish Minister of Infrastructure and Construction with a business delegation. We are sure that this visit will boost cooperation in sectors that are interesting for both Korea and Poland. There are also plans for the meeting of the Poland – Korea Joint Economic Committee in Warsaw. In this context I see great opportunities for Korean companies to deepen their cooperation with Poland in the field of infrastructure projects.
In the Embassy we also have ambitious plans for next year. In late spring we plan to hold a Polish Picnic in downtown Seoul to showcase Polish culture, products and make Seoullites get to know us better. We will continue our close cooperation with Polish Honorary Consul General in Daegu. We will also organize study visits in Poland for Korean journalists and bloggers. Apart from that, we will continue to work on boosting of the economic cooperation and promotion of trade between our two countries.
Our tasks for the years to come stem from the last visit of the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Witold Waszczykowski, which took place in October 2016. During the visit, the new Action Plan for the implementation of the strategic partnership for the years 2017-2020” was signed. It gives our Ministries of Foreign Affairs and sectoral ministries clear guidelines on the direction we want our relations to develop and how do we achieve our goals.
Q: What are the major New Year development plans of your esteemed country in the New Year in economic and political fields in the 2017?
A: In 2017 Polish government will continue to build a strong innovative economy on the basis of the Polish potential. Poland will continue to fulfill its role as a responsible and reliable EU and NATO member, to build on a success of the July 2016 NATO Summit in Warsaw. Polish government will continue the presidency in the Visegrad Group (so called V4). The cooperation between V4 states is not only political, it has a very practical, business angle. For example, Poland and Czech Republic plan to carry out common infrastructure projects. Also, a Congress of Innovators with the participation of young people from the Visegrad Group countries is planned for the beginning of 2017 in Warsaw.
Q: Please introduce the Head of Government of your country with a copy of the portrait photograph of the Head of Government.
A: Beata Szydło is the second woman in the contemporary history of Poland holding the office of the Prime Minister. She was born in 1963 and is a long-standing Member of Parliament. She graduated from the Department of Ethnography of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She also completed post-graduate studies for managers of culture at the Warsaw School of Economics whereas in 2001 at Kraków University of Economics - management of local government in the European Union. She has wide experience in local government issues. In 1998 she was elected the youngest city mayor in the whole region.
In 2005, she joined Law and Justice and from its list was elected Member of Parliament for the 5th term of the Sejm. She is a member of the Economy Committee as well as Local Government and Regional Policy Committee. In 2010, she became a vice-president of Law and Justice. She is married with two sons.
Q: In what areas of economy where Korean companies are welcome in your country? Do you have any specific Korean business organizations in mind favorably considered for economic cooperation with your country?
A: Most Korean companies present in Poland are active in electronic and automotive industries. I am very happy to notice that they are not limiting themselves to production but also are investing in research and development. I can assure you that if you pursue this road you will be offered assistance and help from Polish government. Currently, trade exchange from Polish site involves mainly mechanical and electrical equipment as well as articles of base metal. But we should not forget about Polish retail products sold on Korean market, like Polish pottery from Bolesławiec, Polish cosmetics, beer or sweets like Toffinki that you can get in almost every coffee shop in Seoul. Another Polish product well known in Korea is aronia (chokeberry). Described often as “superfood” is a fantastic source of vitamins and antioxidants especially necessary in winter season. I am convinced that the future will bring more opportunities for Polish exports, especially luxury cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, as well as premium food. Recently I was very proud to celebrate with the Korean Importers Association their 46th anniversary. I am pleased with the cooperation with this institution led by chairman Myoung-jin Shin and we plan to actively work together also in 2017.
Q: Please state whatever other important details we might have left out from the above questionnaire.
A: 2017 will be the first full year of operations of the direct flight connection between Warsaw and Seoul by LOT Polish airlines. I am convinced that direct flight connection will contribute to even greater dynamics of our political exchanges, also at the highest levels. Also, now it will be easier to make business together when one can simply get on a plane in Incheon and get off in Okęcie airport in Warsaw. It carries the name of Frederic Chopin. A composer that is so loved in Korea, that at the latest Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw the phenomenally talented Korean pianist Cho Seong Jin was the winner. I am sure that many music lovers in Korea will use this new opportunity to travel to the country of Frederic Chopin. I am sure that music will be just one of the magnets bringing Korean tourists to Poland. In fact, in the last five years, the number of Koreans visiting Poland almost tripled. I would like to further encourage more visitors. Poland is a beautiful country. Everybody can find something interesting. If one is a nature lover, Baltic sea coast, Masurian Lakes, European Bisons in Białowieża National Park will surely leave an unforgettable impression. If someone prefers culture and history – Poland has 14 UNESCO Heritage sites, among them historic centres of Warsaw and Cracow as well as Castle of Teutonic Order in Malbork. Come to Poland, it’s closer than you expect.