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Dominican Republic signed many important agreements last yearAmbassador hosts reception to mark 173rd National Day

Ambassador Grecia Fiordalicia Pichardo Polanco of the Dominican Republic hosted a reception at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Feb. 27, 2017 to celebrate the 173rd National Day of her country. It was attended by many important guests from Korean society as well as from the foreign community in Seoul.

Ambassador Grecia Fiordalicia Pichardo of the Dominican Republic (left) and Minister of Gender Equality and Family Kang Eun Hee stand at attention at the time of the presentation of the National Anthems of the two countries.

Among the guests in attendance were Minister of Gend Equality and Family Kang Eun-hee and the representatives of all segments of Korean society, including the media from which came editors and publishers who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.

Attendance from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps was unsually large, including the spouses of the ambassadors.

Among them were Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Dato Mohd Rosli Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam , Fernando Danus of Chile, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Milton Alcides Magana Herrera of El Salvador,Stephan Auer of Germany, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Aingeal O’onoghue of Ireland, Mohamed Abdi Gello of Kenya, Askar Beshimove of Kyrgyzstan, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Dato Rohana binti Ramli of Malaysia, Chafik Rachadi of Morocco, Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar,Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Mamadou Ndiaye of Senegal, Milan Lajciak of Slovak Republic, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Mohamad Abdelaal of Sudan, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan, Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.

Speaking to the guests, Ambassador said, “During 2016, the Dominican Republic assumed the Pro-Tempore Presidency (PPT) of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and hosted more than 20 international events, including the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of American States and the 5th CELAC Summit, where the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sanchez, handed over the PPT to the President of the Republic of El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren.” (See excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Grecia Fiordalicia Pichardo.)

In response to the welcome speech, Minister Kang made a congratulatory speech, wheres she emphasized, “Ever since the official diplomatic ties were established between the Republic of Korea and the Dominican Republic in 1962, the two nations have developed amicable relationship in various areas including political, economic, cultural, and interpersonal exchange.” Then she stated, “Moreover, since the state visit of former Dominican President Fernández to Seoul in June 2006, our bilateral exchange has been flourishing and, in addition, the Korean government is striving to improve the health environment of women by providing support for Dominican Republic’s medical services and operating Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Center in Santo Domingo.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this article.)

Ambassador Grecia Fiordalicia Pichardo of Dominican (5th from left foreground) cuts the celebration cake with Minister of Gender Equality and Family Kang Eun Hee (6th from left, same row) and other distinguished guests.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Pichardo Polanco:

It’s a great honor to be able to address you all on this joyous occasion for the people of the Dominican Republic, and to also express my sincerest gratitude do all of you for showing solidarity and joining us in commemorating the 173rd anniversary of the proclamation of independence of the Dominican Republic.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

2016 offered the Dominican Republic valuable opportunities to strengthen its institutions and continue strengthening cooperation and friendly ties with the international community.

During 2016, the Dominican Republic assumed the Pro-Tempore Presidency (PPT) of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and hosted more than 20 international events, including the 46th General Assembly of the Organization of American States and the 5th CELAC Summit, where the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina Sanchez, handed over the PPT to the President of the Republic of El Salvador, Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

Last year, the Dominican Republic Gross Domestic Product reached a growth rate of 6.5% , the highest growth rate in the Latin American and Caribbean region for the third year straight. The growth rate for this year is expected to continue above 6%.

The Dominican Republic’s tourism industry, one of the country’s main economic contributors, also continued to grow during 2016, registering a 6.4% increase with the visit of over 6 million tourists last year, including an increase of 43% with regards to the flow of incoming Korean tourists to the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic’s geographical advantages, its modern and efficient infrastructure, its preferential trade agreements, attractive fiscal incentives, legal guarantees, positive economic growth trends, position us as the main receiver of foreign direct investment in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

The Governments of the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Korea continue to widen the breadth of their exchanges and cooperation, as well as strengthening their bilateral relations. In 2016, we received over 25 Dominican delegations to Korea, representing our Government, private sectors, education and sports.

This year, we will continue to develop joint projects aimed at expanding the Korean investment footprint in the Dominican Republic, in sectors that include sustainable energy, construction and manufacturing. Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange Programs have also been implemented in various areas, including the environment, biodiversity, protection of forests and areas, agriculture, public administration, e- Government, intellectual property and our 911 Emergency System.

Ambassador Fiordalicia Pichardo and Minister Kang (12th and 13th from left) pose with the other lady ambassadors and the spouses of the ambassadors.

The practice of public diplomacy by way of cultural, sports and academic exchanges between the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Korea has contributed to establishing and maintaining a more firm and long- lasting relationship. In keeping with this promotion, this year, our country will participate in various events, cultural and arts manifestations, photographic exhibitions, cinematography displays and classical music concerts.

The Dominican Republic enjoys a stable social and political climate, and we promote equality, equal opportunity and social justice from the highest levels of Government.

The Dominican Republic, basing itself off of its Strategic National 2030 Development Law, continues to adopt measures and promote public policies aimed at reaching the objectives laid out by the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In another regard, the Government of the Dominican Republic has declared 2017 as the “Year of the Development of Forests”; we will continue working jointly with the Republic of Korea to give priority to the stretching of projects and policies aims at bettering the productivity our lands, stave off the greenhouse gases, protect our watershed and combat the threats faced by deforestation by way of harmonizing the use and sustainable management of our resources, as is the commitment of our Government to reach achieve the goals set by the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Since the foundation of our Republic, female participation in Dominican society has been quite notable, creating our national symbols, establishing and directing institutions like the “Salomé Ureña Insitute for Women” in 1881, and fighting against the injustices committed under Rafael Leonidas Trujillo’s regime between 1930 and 1961, as did the Mirabal Sisters, in honor of whom the United Nations established Resolution 54/134 on December 17th, 199, declaring November 25th as the “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”

Madame Minister, in the name of the people of the Dominican Republic, we would like to express our appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Korea for its support and collaboration in the project to prevent adolescent pregnancies and for the construction of a Center for Reproductive health in our country, carried out successfully by the Ministry of Women of the Dominican Republic.

I would like to conclude my intervention, reiterating our sincere appreciation to all of you and to the Government of the Republic of Korea, represented today by Minister Kang Eun-Hee, for having taken the time to attend this event.

From left: Chairman Tongsoon Park of the Park Corporation, Editorial Writer Ms. Kim Angela Sun, Ms. Kyungran Park, Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola and Publisher Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media.

Excerpts from the speech of Minister Kang Eun-hee of Gender Equality & Family:

Congratulations on the 173rd anniversary of the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day. I would like to acknowledge with profound thanks for the hard work from Her Excellency Grecia Fiordalicia Pichardo, Dominican Republic Ambassador to Korea, and the embassy staff who have strived to prepare for the occasion of today.

Furthermore, I am delighted to join you all guests from home and abroad to celebrate and rejoice in the ceremony.

Ever since the official diplomatic ties were established between the Republic of Korea and the Dominican Republic in 1962, the two nations have developed amicable relationship in various areas including political, economic, cultural, and interpersonal exchange. Moreover, since the state visit of former Dominican President Fernández to Seoul in June 2006, our bilateral exchange has been flourishing. In addition, the Korean government is striving to improve the health environment of women by providing support for Dominican Republic’s medical services and operating Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Center in Santo Domingo.

Korea and the Dominican Republic are both considered as countries with full interest in gender equality, and especially the Dominican Republic is known for the establishment of the Ministry of Women, which is a rare development in the Central and South America region. Such deep interest in women’s policies has been set as a good example for the global community beyond the Americas. Now in an era where women’s empowerment is attracting attention, the Dominican Republic’s implementation of the National Plan for Gender Equality could be regarded as a truly meaningful direction of policies.

The Ministry of Gender Equality & Family also work as a competent ministry of women’s policies, and currently runs ‘The Academy of Female Talent’in order to expand women’s entrance into workforce and strengthen women’s economic empowerment. Also, in order to foster women leaders like her Excellency Pichardo, the Ministry has adopted ‘Target Systems for Women in Managerial Positions’to promote women’s representation in the public sector. At our re-employment support centers (‘Saeil’) for the career- interrupted women, job training for high value-added occupations has been expanded in addition to strengthening other supportive functions.

From right Ambassadors Dato Mohd Rosli Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam, Sarun Charoensuwan of Thailand, Hassan Taherian of Iran and Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar with Publisher Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media (left).

Moreover, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family is practicing family- friendly policies for the welfare of people. While operating childcare supporting projects for family policies that could be effectively incorporated in daily life, the Ministry has declared this year as the ‘Founding Year for Settlement of Parent Education,’ and strives to make it easy for everyone to receive decent parent education.

Additionally, Korea is a country where growth of youth is a subject that is closely related to the national development as well. Since youth policy is considered as valuable investment towards the future, the government offers guidance for the youth to allow them to become responsible democratic citizens. As demonstrated well in its victory of the last World Baseball Classic (WBC), the Dominican Republic is also known to be making strenuous efforts for the education of youth for their healthy body and mind.

As an extension of such development, the Republic of Korea is providing an opportunity for the youth all over the globe to interact and establish friendship. Korea is now dedicated to bringing the‘2023 World Scout Jamboree’to the world’s largest reclaimed Saemangeum area, and we call for particular attention and support from the Dominican Republic.

The slogan of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family is ‘Let’s Go Together.’I hope the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and furthermore, the Republic of Korea and the Dominican Republic may be able to continue cooperation and exchange in diverse fields together in the years to come.

Once again, I congratulate on today’s national holiday event, and sincerely hope that there would be more opportunities to share and promote friendship between Korea and Dominican Republic in the future as well.

Yoo Heui-Jin  edt@koreapost.com

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