Charge d’affaires (CDA) Mrs. Joanna Wasiewska of the Republic of Poland said, “Polish-Korean strategic partnership is built on a strong economic partnership and last year our countries recorded trade a turnover of more than 3 billion 5 hundred million dollars and the Polish export grew by 16% reaching more than 5 hundred million dollars.”
Speaking at the National Day celebration reception of Poland at Millennium Seoul Hilton on May 10, 2017, CDA Wasiewska then added, “2016 was also very fruitful in terms of investments, and let me just give you one example: LG Chemical decided to build in Poland a production plant of electric car batteries, first such investment in Europe.” (See excerpts from her speech at the end of this article.)
It was a wonderful reception attended by many distinguished guests from the diplomatic and other segments of the international community in Korea as well as from the Korean society.
The Korean guests included Vice Minister Lee Tae-ho for Economic Coordination at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNCMAC Senior Member gen. Cho Yeong Jin, Chairman Chung Mong-won of the Halla Business Group, Vice Chairman Seon-Jib Choi of the Association of High Potential Enterprises of Korea, Chairman Yoon-kyu Kim of A-Cheon Global Corporation, Vice President Son Jae Il of Defense Business Unit of Hanwha Techwin, Advisor Myoung-kyun Kim of POSCO Terminal, President Synn Il Hi of Keimyung University, Ambassador for International Relations of Seoul Metropolitan Government Kim Chang-beom, Former Korean Ambassador Hong Ji-in to Poland, and many distinguished personalities from all walks of life in Korea. From the media came many representatives, including Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media with an editorial entourage from its five media outlets, including Editor Linda Youn of the Korean-language newspaper of The Korea Post.
From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps attended many ambassadors accompanied by their spouses, who included (in alphabetical order) Ambassadors Albino Malungo of Angola, Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Zulfigur Rahman of Bangladesh, Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra of Brazil, Tomas Husak of Czech Republic, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Shiferaw Jarso Tedecha of Ethiopia, Michael Reiterer of Delegation of The Europan Union, Eero Suominen of Finland, Carlos Victor Boungoua of Gabon, Adulah Sarif Ali Saleem Al-Nuaimi of United Arab Emirates, Gabor Csaba of Hungary, Marco Dellaseta of Italy, Adel Mohammad Adaileh of Jordan, Khamsouay Keodalavong of Lao Republic, Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar, Yamanea of Papua New Guinea, Mihai Ciompec of Romania, Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo of Rwanda, Milan Lajciak of Slovak Republic, Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa, Mohamed Ali Nafti of Tunisia and Hakan Okcal of Turkey.
There also were a good number of other prominent personalities from the international community, who included Commanding General and Mrs. Vincent K. Brooks of the UNC/USFK/US-ROK CFC., Generals Urs Gerber and Mats Engman (heads of Swiss and Swedish Delegations to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission) and head of Leonardo Helicopters Korea Aaron Lewis. Presence of General Brooks was accorded a special attention during those days. Throughout the state of a de facto political/government vacuum of Korea for two full months until May 10, 2017 with the discredited former President Park Geun-hye under detention and impeachment, the United States Forces in Korea, General Vincent in particular, were looked upon as a strong source of reliance and relief in the face of continuously growing military threats from North Korean. Mrs. Vincent, probably her first debut in the diplomatic functions as far as the Korean media were concerned, was a target of attention and admiration from many Korean guests for her manim-like appearance and kind and refined manner of speech. The Head of Polish Delegation to the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission Colonel Andrzej Różyński was the guest of honor from Poland. Among other prominent Polish nationals were Ms. Joanna Hosaniak (deputy director general of the Citizen’s Alliance for North Korean Human Rights and honorary citizen of Seoul)
Excerpts from the speech of CDA Wasiewska of Poland:
Good evening everyone. Let me start with a warm welcome to all of you who have joined us in the celebration of National Day commemorating Polish Constitution of the 3rd of May 1791. We are proud to have adopted the first modern constitution in Europe, second in the world, just after the American one. It is my great honour to host you here today. Thank you for finding the time in your busy schedules.
Next year, in 2018, we will celebrate a hundred-year anniversary of Polish Independence and in 2019, 30 years of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Korea. And I am pleased to say that friendship between Poland and Korea is strong and worth celebrating. Our Polish-Korean Strategic Partnership is developing dynamically, through various projects, exchanges and tasks every year. Last October, during his visit to Seoul, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski and the MOFA 1st Vice Minister LIM Sung-nam signed the already second edition of the “Action Plan for the Implementation of the Polish-Korean Strategic Partnership”, for the years 2017-2020.
Minister Waszczykowski’s visit was connected with the launch of direct flight connection between Warsaw and Seoul by ‘LOT’ Polish Airlines. For me, such direct flight is a bridge connecting administrations, businesses and, above all, people of both countries, giving a real boost to the bilateral cooperation. In fact, from July the frequency of the flights will be increased to 5 a week, which speaks volumes about how much this connection, was needed.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank ‘LOT’ Polish Airlines for their support at the organization of today’s event.
Today we are also supported by Pernod Ricard Korea with delicious Polish vodka, Wyborowa. I encourage everyone to try some.
Polish-Korean Strategic Partnership is built on a strong economic partnership. Last year our countries recorded trade turnover of more than 3 billion 5 hundred million dollars and the Polish export grew 16% reaching more than 5 hundred million dollars. 2016 was also very fruitful in terms of investments, let me just give you one example: LG Chem decided to build in Poland a production plant of electric car batteries, first such investment in Europe.
There is no successful cooperation between two countries without atmosphere of friendship, mutual interest and understanding. Only 10 days ago, on the 30th of April, Cheonggye Plaza was, for the second time already, filled with Polish folk art, music, literature, food, pottery, cosmetics and jewelry. Korean public shows a growing interest in everything Polish in South Korea. This is of course also thanks to our friends at the Polish Faculty at Hankuk University in Seoul as well as Korean-Polish Friendship Association ‘Pro Polonia”, Keymiung University and Kyongpook National University, all three in Daegu.
Poland has been present at the Korean Peninsula for much longer than 28 years of diplomatic ties. For the last 64 years, we’ve been engaged in strengthening the security in the region as a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission. With the currently unstable situation just behind Polish Eastern border, including ongoing military conflict, we are particularly sensitive to the national security issues. We perfectly understand that security can only be achieved through close cooperation with other partners. Korea is our strategic partner, one of only three in Asia, and therefore, when it comes to security on Korean Peninsula, we are determined to continue providing our support. Starting with this year, the number of the Polish Mission staff to the NNSC has been increased, which also enables us more frequent participation in NNSC activities on the ground. The presence of the Head of the Polish Mission Col. Andrzej Różyński today is the best proof of my words.
I strongly believe that Poland’s over-sixty-years contribution to the building of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula through the NNSC is another argument in favour of Poland’s candidacy for non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. I hope that those casting votes will take it into consideration.
We gathered here to celebrate the National Day of Poland. However, we are also celebrating friendship, excellent relations and close cooperation between Poland and Korea. There is one person among us today who deserves special words of appreciation for his great service rendered to the Polish-Korean Strategic Partnership. It is my great pleasure to inform all of you that the President of the Republic of Poland H.E. Andrzej Duda has decided to award Ambassador HONG Ji-in, who served as Korean Ambassador to Poland from June 2014 to October 2016, with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his outstanding contribution to the development of Polish-Korean relations. It would take too long to name all projects conducted by or with Ambassador’s Hong support. He is not only a great diplomat for his country, but also a great friend of Poland. I feel honoured to be the one designated to decorate Ambassador Hong tonight with this State Award.