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‘Bulgaria, Korea up cooperation in energy, ICT, infrastructure, defense, agriculture, environment’Bares Ambassador Andonov of Bulgaria at National Day reception

Ambassador Petar Andonov of the Republic of Bulgaria in Seoul said, “Minister of Foreign Affairs Yun Byung-se visited Bulgaria and both sides agreed to seek further substantial advances in the bilateral comprehensive and future-oriented partnership forged by the Presidents of the two countries at their summit talks in Seoul in May 2015 broadening the scope of cooperation to include energy, ICT, infrastructure, national defense, agriculture and environment.”
Speaking at a reception he hosted at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on March 7, 2017 in celebration of the National Day of Bulgaria, Ambassador Andonov noted, “Both sides also discussed ways to coordinate on the North Korea nuclear and missile program where Bulgaria fully supports international efforts for the denuclearization and establishing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
“Bulgaria strongly condemns the North Korea’s nuclear tests and missile launches,“ said Ambassador Andonov “They constitute a grave violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and a threat to peace and security, including the latest missile test conducted by North Korea on February 12 and March 6, 2017. ” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this article.)

Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria in Seoul (sixth from right, front row) poses with other ambassadors attending the National Day reception of Bulgaria at Grand Hyatt in Seoul on March 7, 2017

Obviously as if attest to his populairty among the Korean civic figues as well as among his colleagues of the diplomatic community in Korea, the sapcious Regency Ballroom of the hotel were literally “packed to the brims” with Korean and international dignitaries.
Among the guests in attendance, off hand, Deputy Minister Cho June-hyuck of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rep. Hong Moon-pyo (chairrnan of the Korea-Bulgaria Parliamentary Friendship Association and representatives from all walks of life, including the mass communications media, where Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media (publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language media) came with his editors and reporters fully committed to covering the event with various means, including video coverage.
Other guests in attendance included Chairman Kyung-Shik Sohn of CJ Group, Chairman Dae-won, CEP Moon of Dong Hwa Sanup, Chairman Dae-won Moon of Dong Hwa Sanup, CEO Young-jae Han of Noroo, CEO James Jin-Shik Choi of SUMPAC, Chairman of Dae-won Moon of Dong Hwa Sanup Co., Executive Director Head of Global Business Division Seong-Ki, Kim of Kukje Machinery, Mayor Ra Jin-oo of Jungnang-gu District Government of Seoul, CEO Chairman James Jin-Shik Choi of SIMPAC
There also were a number of Korean honorary consuls for foreign countries, who included Honorary Consul General (HCG) Hanyoung Kim of Bhutan (chairman of MES Corporation) and HCG In-Mo Yang of Croatia (senior executive advisor to Hanmaek Heavy Ind. Co.).
Attendance from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was unusualaly large and included Ambassadors Jorge Roballo of Argentina, Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra of Brazil, Dato Mohd Rosli Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam , Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Dimanche Long of Cambodia, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Hany Moawad Selim Labib of Egypt,Eero Suominen of Finland,Stephan Auer of Germany, Adulah Sarif Ali Saleem Al-Nuaimi of United Arab Emirates, Wadee Batti Hanna Al-Batti of Iraq, Marco Dellaseta of Italy, Askar Beshimove of Kyrgyzstan, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar, Jan Ole Grevstad of Norway, Antonio Quintero Nobre of Portugal, Mohammed Bin Abdalla Obaid Al-Dohaimi of Qatar, Mihai Ciompec of Romania, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Zoran Kazazovic of Serbia, Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore, Milan Lajciak of Slovak Republic, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain, Niroshani Manisha Dias Abeywickrema Gunasekera of Sri Lanka, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan and Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan ,

Mayor Ra Jin-oo of Jungnang-gu District Government (left) speaks with President Kim Hyung-dae of The Korea Post media

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Andonov:
Third of March is our National Day and I am glad that you are here tonight to help us to mark it. May I thank you for your continued interest in Bulgaria and contribution to Bulgaria-Korea friendship over the years.
Let me outline 5 important highlights in our bilateral relations with Republic of Korea in 2016:
First of all, the official visit of H.E. Yun Byung-se, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea to Bulgaria in June 2016, first by ROK Foreign Minister in 26 years served as a historic milestone in our bilateral relations. Both sides agreed to seek further substantial advances in the bilateral comprehensive and future-oriented partnership forged by the Presidents of the two countries at their summit talks in Seoul in May 2015 broadening the scope of cooperation to include energy, ICT, infrastructure, national defense, agriculture and environment. Both sides also discussed ways to coordinate on the North Korea nuclear and missile program. Bulgaria fully supports international efforts for the denuclearization and establishing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Bulgaria strongly condemns the DPRK’s nuclear tests and missile launches, which are a grave violation of UN Security Council Resolutions and a threat to peace and security, including the latest missile test conducted by North Korea on February 12 and March 6, 2017.
Bulgaria calls upon the DPRK to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, to meet fully its international obligations and to re-engage constructively in a credible and meaningful dialogue with the international community, including in the Six-Party Talks framework. As co-author of UNSC Resolutions 2270/2016 and 2321/2016 Bulgaria takes its obligations regarding the implementation of sanctions towards the DPRK very seriously.
Second, the visit of the Governor of Gyeonggi Province Mr. Nam Kyung-pil to Bulgaria in early May 2016 became the main reason for a very emotional meeting for a first time in their lives of Bulgarian professor of geography Kamen Nam with his half-sister Ms. Nam Yool-joo, a North Korean defector in Seoul in late August last year. Bulgarian Professor Kamen Nam, who stepped for the first time on the Korean soil last year, is a descendant of the esteemed Joseon-era military officer General Nam I.

Ambassadors Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia and Luis Fernando De Andradee Serra of Brazil pose with Publisher Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media (second to fourth from left). They are flanked on the left by Korean-language Editor Linda Youn of The Korea Post and Vice Chairman Choe Nam-suk on far right.


Third, the best start-up in Central & Eastern Europe, the Bulgarian Imagga Technologies as a platform of cloud-based API’s for automated image recognition and video tagging finished as № 4 in K-Startup Grand Challenge 2016. In addition, three other Bulgarian start-ups were very successful with their participation in an Entrepreneurial Talents’ House for Opportunity and Support II program arranged by the World Bank Group and State University of New York in Korea in Songdo.
Fourth, it was a great honor for the Embassy of Bulgaria to be a partner of Seoul Rose Festival 2016 organized by Jungnang municipality and especially for me to sign a MoU with the Mayor Ra Jingoo for future cooperation in the field of culture, arts and sports.
Fifth, as an article published in The Korea Herald on October 9th last year said “the Bulgarian rock’n’ roll band Tube Hedzzz made a splash in Korea”. Thanks to the support of the Korea Foundation, the top Bulgarian musicians performed at the pop & rock festivals in Seoul, Pyeongtaek and Jeju Island gaining the admirations of the Korean rock music lovers.
On the domestic political arena, in November 2016, elections for the President of Bulgaria were held. I would like to assure you that in line with Bulgaria’s consistent policy of attaching great importance to the development of its relations with the Republic of Korea, the newly inaugurated President H.E.Mr.Rumen Radev is committed to the further enhancement of the comprehensive and future-oriented partnership with ROK both bilaterally and within the EU – ROK Strategic Partnership framework in all areas of mutual interest.

Ambassador Petar Andonov of Bulgaria (fourth from left) poses with Deputy Head of Mission Panko Panov (fifth from left). The othrs are, from left, Driver Lee Kyu Bok, Interpreter Daniel Rupanov and MC Mrs. Gabriela Terziyska. At right is Ms. Lee Eun Young (secretary to the Ambassador).

Due to his very successful participation in the TV show “Look what is in my refrigerator” on JTBC Mr. Mihal Ashminov contributed a lot to the efforts of our Embassy to make Bulgaria more popular to Korean viewers as an attractive destination for tourism, good food and quality wines. So I am very proud of Mihal who became a real Ambassador of the Bulgarian culinary and wine culture to Korea. I would like also to express my gratitude and high appreciation to his brother Filip Ashminov, co-owner of Zelen restaurant, Mr. Vasil Terziyski, its main chef and the whole team of professionals who prepared a special Bulgarian food corner for tonight’s reception and for their active participation in many other embassy’s activities.
I would like to thank all of you once again for joining us this evening and sharing our celebratory spirit. I would especially like to thank Mr. Kim Hi Yong, Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Seoul for 25 years who has made with his sponsorship tonight’s reception such an outstanding event. I would also like to gratefully acknowledge the contribution of Mr. Choi Kang-Yong, our Honorary Consul in Busan for more active and dynamic relations between our countries in all aspects and areas and especially for his great help to present the famous Bulgarian rock band Tube Hedzzz to Korean audience last autumn.
I hope you will enjoy this evening of fun, friendship and festivity and that you will carry with you good memories of Bulgaria National Day. I also hope you got upon your arrival at the reception hall so called Marteniza or red and white twisted threads. Wearing a Marteniza is a traditional Bulgarian custom in March. It brings health, luck and happiness throughout the whole year to the one that carries it. These are my wishes tonight to all of you.

Lee Kyung-sik  edt@koreapost.com

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