By Lee Kyung-sik
Publisher of The Korea Post media
Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan in Seoul said: “The Azerbaijani people remember 1992 as a year of sorrow, tragedy and occupation. In 1992 Azerbaijan lost control over Shusha city, Lachin, Khojavand and Khojaly districts as a result of Armenian occupation which caused lives of thousands of civilians and increased number of IDPs. We also remember 1992 as a year of Genocide which was brutally conducted by Armenian military forces against citizens of Khojaly district of Azerbaijan.”
Ambassador Tyemurov made the statement at a seminar and photo exhibition entitled “Azerbaijan Realities: From Past to Present” at the National Assembly Members’ Building Seminar Hall at the National Assembly Complex on Yeoeuido Islet in Seoul on Feb. 14, 2017 co-hosted by the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Seoul, Chairman Rep. Hwang Young-cheul of the Korea-Azerbaijan Friendship Association and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (See further details of the speech by Ambassador Teymurov toward the end of this article.)
It is was attended by many distinguished guests from the Korean society and the diplomatic community in Seoul, who included Rep. Park Byeong-seug (former vice speaker of the National Assembly and chairman of the National Assembly Overseas Koreans Association) and National Assemblywoman Park In-sook.
There also were many ambassadors and other senior members from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps in attendance. They included Ambassadors Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra of Brazil, Tito Saul Pinilla Pinilla of Colombia, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo of Rwanda and Ambassador Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan. There also were many other important members of the Diplomatic Corps who included Mrs. Taegul Mammetalyyveva (spouse of the ambassador of Turkmenistan) and Counsellor Gabriel da Silva Guimaraes of Angola.
The next speaker was Rep. Hwang Young-cheul, president of Korea-Azerbaijan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group. He said in part: “Azerbaijan and Korea share many cultural similarities, such as respect for the elderly and a strong family bond. Given the existing bilateral friendship and cultural closeness, the emotional distance between our two countries is smaller than any other bilateral relationship in the world.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this article.)
Rep. Hwang’s speech was followed by National Assemblywoman Park In-sook. She stated: “I had a chance to visit Azerbaijan several times and to meet my counterparts and to witness huge development in the country compared with my first and last visits. Rich with culture and nature Azerbaijan is one of the unique places on the earth with its old history and nice people.” (See excerpts toward the end of this article.)
The last speaker was Publisher-Chairman of The Korea Post media. He stated in part: “There are still unlimited potential possibilities for mutual cooperation and relations between two countries, not only in the economic, trade and energy sectors but also in the fields of culture, education, art and sports. Today, the Korean people are showing great interest in the Caucasus region, which was known as the part of Silk Road route, but which is not that widely known to the Korean people as of today.”
Speeches by the four speakers were followed by presentation of videos on Azerbaijan and explanations in the Korean language by Deputy Head of Mission Vagif Jafarov of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Seoul. DHM Jafarov, in the opinion of some of the Korean guests at the meeting, “He spoke the Korean language better than Koreans themselves!”
After the speech session and the video presentation, the guests were invited to view the photo exhibition in the large hall in front of the lecture room and then to refreshments and beverages.
Nutshell opinion of the event: Koreans learned a bit more about Azerbaijan and its relations and events of their history. Azerbaijanis, like Koreans, had sufferings in the past now they were poised to chart out their future toward a better and brighter future—again like the Korean people.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Teymurov of Azerbaijan:
It’s my great honour and privilege to greet all of you and extend my great appreciation for your participation at today’s event. I also would like to convey my utmost appreciation to Mr. Hwang Yeong-cheol, President of 19th National Assembly Korea-Azerbaijan Friendship Group; Madam Park In-sook, member of National Assembly; and The Korea Post, especially Chairman Lee for the support on hosting this event.
Today we are launching our first event dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Azerbaijan and Korea. It’s very honourable and remarkable for me to represent my country in Korea when our two friendly countries are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the friendship.
It was 23rdof March 1992, when we signed Protocol on establishment of Diplomatic Relations in New York. That period of time was very hard for Azerbaijan,and required attention and support of international community to the challenges which people of Azerbaijan and young democracy were facing.
Today, Azerbaijani people remember 1992 as a year of international recognition of independence and sovereignty. Azerbaijan become member of United Nation and established diplomatic relations with advanced countries like the Republic of Korea in 1992.
On the other hand Azerbaijani people remember 1992 as a year of sorrow, tragedy and occupation. In 1992 Azerbaijan lost control over Shusha city, Lachin, Khojavand and Khojaly districts as a result of Armenian occupation which caused lives of thousands of civilians and increased number of IDPs. We also remember 1992 as a year of Genocide which was brutally conducted by Armenian military forces against citizens of Khojaly district of Azerbaijan.
But Azerbaijan successfully rose from the ashes of invasion and managed to become one of the fastest growing economies under the leadership of her great son, National Leader Haydar Aliyev and with the support of our allies and friends like the Republic of Korea. Today Azerbaijan is dynamically developing in all fields leading by H.E. Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan based on its significant geographical location that makes Azerbaijan an important transportation hub between East and West, its energy and natural recourses which creates enormous opportunities for local and foreign entrepreneurs to develop their own businesses and to support overall economic development of country, and finally its rich history and culture that attracts international community as a tourist destination and as a host of many important international events.
All of these achievements wouldn’t be possible without support of friendly partner countries like the Republic of Korea. I am happy to say that in the 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, Azerbaijan-Korea relations have witnessed a strong partnership and stable development in all fields. In the past 25 years we have built up strong and closer contacts at all levels, and deepened mutual understanding and trust. The high level exchanges of visits between two countries played an important role on achieving remarkable outcomes in almost every sector of our relations based on mutual respect and shared interests.
I am confident that the bilateral relations between our two countries will continue to expand and grow stronger in the years ahead. I strongly believe that there are more opportunities in front of us that we should work together to develop our relations to the more advanced level.
Excerpts from the speech of Rep. Hwang Young-cheul:
I am very pleased to be here today. I am Hwang Young-cheul, President of Korea-Azerbaijan Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Let me express my sincere appreciation to His Excellency Remzi Kazim Teymurov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Korea, and officials from the Korea Post Media for all the hard effort you have made to successfully co-host this meaningful event.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Korea, which is a significant milestone for both our nations.
Celebrating this auspicious year, it is indeed a great pleasure to have a photo exhibition and seminar under the theme of “Azerbaijan Realities: From Past to Present.”
Korea and Azerbaijan have enjoyed the close ties of cooperation and friendship over the past 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations on March 23, 1992. Bilateral relations have deepened as the top leaders of both countries exchanged visits in 2006 and 2007 respectively and through frequent inter-parliamentary interactions. Furthermore, government-level talks have been held on a consistent basis.
Azerbaijan and Korea share many cultural similarities, such as respect for the elderly and a strong family bond. Given the existing bilateral friendship and cultural closeness, the emotional distance between our two countries is smaller than any other bilateral relationship in the world.
In particular, there is no doubt that the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Korea will be a catalyst for further expanding and strengthening our bilateral relations going forward.
I hope this gathering serves as an opportunity to arouse interest in Azerbaijan among Koreans and wish you the best of luck for a wonderful, enjoyable and successful event. Thank you.
Excerpts from the speech of National Assemblywoman Park In-sook:
On such a special day of historic significance in Korea-Azerbaijan bilateral history, may I extend, warm congratulations to His Excellency Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov and warm welcome to all the distinguished guests present today.
25 years ago on March 23, 1992 the two countries established diplomatic relations. Over the past 25 years, thanks to the concerted efforts of the peoples of Korea and Azerbaijan, our traditional friendship has been growing stronger and developing further, and our friendly ties and cooperation have scored fast progress with remarkable achievements.
A series of mutually beneficial cooperation projects serving the two peoples have achieved positive results. We have enjoyed dynamic people-to-people exchanges, effective economic and humanitarian cooperation, and strong public support for our friendship. Friendly exchanges between Korea and Azerbaijan laid a solid foundation for the comprehensive development of bilateral relations.
The recent years have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges, and fruitful cooperation was carried out in various fields such as economy and trade, construction, IT, culture & tourism, education, agriculture and jurisdiction. The relations between two countries have become more intensive after the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006 and the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Republic of Korea in February 2007 and especially, after the exchange of visits of the Heads of States of the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Political and economic instruments like Political Consultations, Inter-Parliamentary Working Groups and Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation have been established to improve bilateral relations. Speakers of Azerbaijani Parliament and National Assembly of Korea, Heads of Inter-Parliamentary Working Groups have frequently exchanged visits starting from 2006.
I had a chance to visit Azerbaijan several times and to meet my counterparts and to witness huge development in the country comparing my first and last visits. Rich with culture and nature Azerbaijan is one of the unique places of earth with its old history and nice people.
I would like to take the 25th anniversary as an opportunity, to work with our Azerbaijani friends and push the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two countries to a new height.
Today is also 25th anniversary of Khojaly Genocide committed by Armenian armed forces on February 25th, 1992 as a result of which 613 people lost their lives, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly. 1275 were taken hostage, while the fate of another 150 people remains unknown.
It is so unfortunate that the history witnessed this tragedy in the late 20th century. Today protecting people from genocide and war crimes, from ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, remains vital and sadly necessary. This anniversary therefore presents an important chance to reflect on how far we’ve come, to learn from the past and to look ahead.
In the end I thank once again the organizers of this remarkable event and for giving me floor.
Congratulatory speech by Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post:
It is a great honor and privilege for me to have this rare opportunity to speak at the opening of the Photo Exhibition, “Azerbaijan Realities: From Past to Present,” which is in celebration of the 25th anniversary of establishment of bilateral relations.
On May 10, 2006, a little over 10 years ago, the Korean visited Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, and signed many important economic cooperation agreements with the Azerbaijani government.
During his summit meeting with the President of Azerbaijan, a total of eight memoranda of understanding in the areas of energy, IT, construction, oil development, business investment among others.
Azerbaijan is a very important country to Korea. Located in the South Caucasus region with access to the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan is one of the most dynamically developing countries in the world in spite of the recent global economic crisis.
Azerbaijan is not very widely known Koreans—at least not as much as the United States or Japan is to Korea. And yet, Azerbaijan is very famous for the abundance of natural resources.
In June 2006 Azerbaijan opened BTC which transports Azerbaijan oil to port Ceyhan in Mediterranean Sea. Moreover in 2007, Azerbaijan opened BTE Gas Pipeline which transports Azerbaijan gas to Erzurum in Turkey. The opening of BTC and BTE make most of the countries pay attention to the energy sector of Azerbaijan.
Since the official visit of President Roh Moo-hyun to Azerbaijan in 2006 and that of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to Korea in April 2007, the relations between the two countries have developed remarkably in many fields such as construction, transport, information technologies, energy and natural resources.
There are many similarities between Korea and Azerbaijan in their history, culture, traditions and especially language. The Korean and Azerbaijan languages are members of the Altaic language family. Azerbaijani people show great interest in Korea. This leads to the increased number of tourists and students who are visiting Korea for learning Korean culture, history.
There are still unlimited potential possibilities for mutual cooperation and relations between two countries, not only in the economic, trade and energy sectors but also in the fields of culture, education, art and sports.
Today, the Korean people are showing great interest in the Caucasus region, which was known as the part of Silk Road route, but which is not that widely known to the Korean people as of today.
I would say that Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan in Seoul, the Korean Government, and, of course, The Korea Post media, have a lot to do to bring the two countries and peoples closer together for the promotion of their mutual interest and benefit.