By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editors Kevin Lee, Song Na-ra
Ambassador Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero of Colombia in Seoul said, “In the last three years the bilateral relationship between these two countries has been transformed towards the concept of a relationship of ‘Sustainable and Digital Inclusive Innovation,’ which has new and different chapters such as: rural development with digital innovation, green growth, entrepreneurship, creative industries, the blue economy, science and technology, the bio-economy, among others.”
Ambassador Caiza Rosero made the statement at a gala reception which he and his spouse, Madam Ana Paula Martinez Garrigos, hosted at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 1, 2022, which was attended by many Korean and international dignitaries, including Korean government leaders and ambassadors.
Then added Ambassador Caiza Rosero, “All these new work scenarios were consolidated with the adoption of the ‘Joint Declaration’ signed between our two Presidents last year and it is a historic declaration since it is the first time that Korea subscribes with a Latin American country such document defining a narrative and a roadmap for the future of relations, and which materializes the creation of 12 memorandums of understanding to promote the aforementioned issues.” (See details of the speech of Ambassador Caiza Rosero following this article.)
Ambassador Caiza Rosero’s speech was very warmly received by the Korean and international guests at the party, including Madam Hyoeun Jenny Kim, the ambassador & deputy minister for climate change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea.
Deputy Minister Madam Kim said, “Since its independence, Colombia has built up a tradition of democracy as promulgated in the Nueva Granada Constitution of 1832 and has valued the responsibilities and promises it has and made as a member of the international community.”
Then she said, “Upon this democratic and peace-loving spirit, Colombia has developed into one of the Latin American countries that achieved the most dynamic development over the past several years.”
She said, “In 2020, Colombia officially joined the OECD and last year, even in the difficult economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Colombia recorded the highest economic growth rate of 10.6% among the OECD countries with its efforts focused on economic recovery.” “I applaud Colombia for these achievements,” she said, “and I am convinced that Colombia will continue on its journey toward a more prosperous future.” (See details of the speech of Deputy Minister Kim toward the end of this article.)
In fact, Colombia is a very, very special country to the Republic of Korea. According to the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colombia is the only country in Latin America to send combat troops to Korea during the Korean War (1950-1953) to fight on the side of the Republic of Korea the Korean War in defense of freedom and democracy from the North Korean Communist regime’s invasion of the ROK starting on June 25, 1950.
Colombia's participation in the Korean War is a valuable diplomatic asset between the two countries, and the Korean government is actively conducting patriot diplomacy activities.
In particular, in Colombia, the Veterans Descendants Association was formed along with the Veterans Corps and Officers' Church, playing a valuable role in promoting Korea-Colombia relations.
Korea and Colombia have developed close friendly and cooperative relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties on March 10, 1962, and established a strategic cooperative partnership in 2011.
In July 2016, the Korea-Colombia FTA went into effect, creating a solid foundation for expanding bilateral relations.
Colombia is the only South American country to have an FTA with Korea. Over the past 10 years, two Korean Presidents and one Prime Minister have visited Colombia, and one President and two Vice Presidents have visited Colombia.
Colombia is one of the three largest markets in Latin America, with a population of 50 million, and is the only country in South America that borders the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
In addition, Colombia is located at a strategic point connecting South and Central America, close to the Panama Canal, and close to the United States, the largest market in North America.
In May 2020, Colombia became the third OECD member country in Latin America.
Colombia is a resources-rich country. In addition to producing an average of 900,000 barrels of oil per day from 2015 to 2019 and an average of 82.5 million tons of coal per year for the past five years, Colombia also produces a large amount of natural gas.
Minerals such as gold and emeralds and agricultural products such as coffee, flowers and palm oil are also noteworthy.
Korea will continue to strengthen her cooperation with Colombia, one of the largest allies of Korea in Latin America, in traditional areas of cooperation such as political affairs, patriotism, economy, consulate, and culture, and furthermore, cooperation in new fields such as e-government, defense, infrastructure, biodiversity, and medical health.
Details of speech of Ambassador Caiza Rosero of Colombia:
Distinguished Colleagues, Fellow Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Honorable Representatives of the Korean Government.
Honorable Members of the National Assembly
Distinguished members of the Private and Academic Sector
Honorable Representatives of the United Nations Command
Distinguished Members of the Colombian Community in Korea joining us for this special celebration,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today is our Independence Day celebration, in a year that also commemorates the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 71st anniversary of the arrival of the Colombia Battalion to the Korean War. We have many reasons to celebrate, but I would like to concentrate on the following:
In the last three years the bilateral relationship between these two countries has been transformed towards the concept of a relationship of "Sustainable and Digital Inclusive Innovation," which has new and different chapters such as: rural development with digital innovation, green growth, entrepreneurship, creative industries, the blue economy, science and technology, the bio-economy, among others.
All these new work scenarios were consolidated with the adoption of the “Joint Declaration” signed between our two Presidents last year. It is a historic declaration since it is the first time that Korea subscribes with a Latin American country such document defining a narrative and a roadmap for the future of relations, and which materializes the creation of 12 memorandums of understanding to promote the aforementioned issues.
I want to refer to this same “Joint Declaration,” which defined a public diplomacy project around literature and the commemoration of 60 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and Colombia.
In that way, Korea was the guest of honor at the Bogota Book Fair in April this year, and Colombia was the guest of honor at the Seoul Book Fair last June. This is a demonstration that elevates the relationship of the two countries to a relationship of cultural exchange, which paradoxically contrasts with the beginning of it 71 years ago on a relationship of military cooperation.
I want to emphasize that Colombia has become a leader in several international scenarios where its epicenter has been Korea, as in the scenario of sustainability and climate change where our country is an official member of the Global Green Growth Institute, where our country will host in 2023 the P4G Assembly (Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030) and mention the great projects that are being advanced in Colombia with the Green Climate Fund including the Mojana project and the new entrepreneurship project for the Amazon region.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the Mayor of Seoul, His Excellency Oh Se-hoon, who in recent days has awarded me the distinction of honorary citizen of Seoul, and also to state that this distinction is addressed to the team of the Diplomatic Mission accredited in Korea.
Thank you very much to all my work team, the Mission, the Consulate, the Military Attaché Office and Procolombia.
Thank you all for your presence here tonight. Thank you for contributing to the continued enhancement of relations between Colombia and Korea.
Speech by Deputy Minister Hyoeun Jenny Kim of MOFA, Korea:
Your Excellency Juan Carlos Caiza, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia, Ambassadors, Distinguished members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great honor and pleasure for me to join you in celebrating the 212th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Colombia. On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to the government and people of Colombia.
Since its independence, Colombia has built up a tradition of democracy as promulgated in the Nueva Granada Constitution of 1832 and has valued the responsibilities and promises it has and made as a member of the international community. Upon this democratic and peace-loving spirit, Colombia has developed into one of the Latin American countries that achieved the most dynamic development over the past several years. In 2020, Colombia officially joined the OECD. Last year, even in the difficult economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Colombia recorded the highest economic growth rate of 10.6% among the OECD countries with its efforts focused on economic recovery. I applaud Colombia for these achievements, and I am convinced that Colombia will continue on its journey toward a more prosperous future.
A time-proven proverb says, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” To Korea, Colombia has been a true friend in difficult times. During the Korean War, Colombia dispatched a total of five thousand and sixty-two soldiers to Korea, and many of them sacrificed their invaluable lives for the freedom and democracy of Korea. This historic cooperation laid a foundation for the deep mutual trust between the two countries and the relationship was reinforced through the establishment of a “strategic cooperative partnership” in 2011.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our bilateral ties have become closer than ever. Last year, when Colombian President Ivan Duque visited Korea, the leaders of our two countries agreed to share a strategic vision for the new 60 years by further expanding cooperation to new industries such as health care, digital transformation, and eco-friendly cooperation and by further developing the strategic partnership.
In particular, our two countries have been working together for mutually beneficial economic cooperation and common prosperity. The entry into force of the Korea-Colombia FTA in 2016 has led to the broadening and deepening of bilateral economic cooperation.
As Ambassador and Deputy Minister for Climate Change, I am particularly pleased to work closely with Colombia to address global climate change and green recovery as Korea has handed over the baton of hosting the P4G Summit to Colombia. The Korean government will actively support and cooperate so that the upcoming 3rd P4G Summit in Colombia in 2023 can be held successfully. Colombia is also a founding member of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), intergovernmental organization to support green transition in developing countries and emerging economies. Korea and Colombia initiated the Institute together and the Chair of the Council of GGGI, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, former UN SG, visited the country recently.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Colombia. As both countries have a new government inaugurated this year, I hope the momentum of cooperation between our two countries will be further strengthened under the new governments. I wish for peace and prosperity of Colombia under the excellent leadership of the new President, His Excellency Gustavo Petro.
I am honored to announce that honorable National Assembly members will participate in the inauguration ceremony as the Special Envoy of Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. The team will be led by the honorable Park Duk Hyum, member of the National Assembly.
Seventy-one years ago, the First Infantry Battalion of Colombia took their first step at the port of Busan on June 15. With the valuable sacrifice and support from Colombia and the international community, that very city of Busan has become the bulwark of freedom and democracy and the symbol of miraculous economic growth of Korea. Now, Busan is ready to share its lessons by hosting the World Expo 2030 under the theme of “Transforming Our World, Navigating Toward a Better Future.” I would like to ask for your continued attention and support for Korea's bid.
Once again, allow me to convey my heart-felt congratulations to the people of Colombia on the 212th anniversary of independence. My best wishes go to the Republic of Colombia and to the everlasting friendship between our two nations.