Ambassador Petar Andonov of the Republic of Bulgaria hosted a reception at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on March 3, 2014 to celebrate the anniversary of Independence of Bulgaria.
It was one of the best-attended diplomatic functions in many months with distinguished guests attending from all walks of life in the Korean society and from the international community as well as the Seoul Diplomatic Corps (SDC) and the Bulgarian community in Korea.
Among the Korean guests in attendance were Rep. Kim Young-Woo of the ruling Saenuri Party (chairman of the Korean-Bulgarian Parliamentary Union), Honorary Consul General Kim Hi-Yong of Bulgaria in Seoul, Publisher-Chainman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post, Vice President Dohyon Kim of Samsung Electronics, President Sam Choi of Taewoong TPL, Professor Kim Won-hoi of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Director Shim Mi-wa of Somerset Palace Seoul. There also were an unusually large number of Korean honorary consuls attending the party, among whom were Honorary Consul Ly Kwang-yong of Malta, Honorary Consul General Kim Han-young of Bhutan, and Honorary Consul Shin Pyung-jai of Romania.
From the SDC came many mission chiefs who included Ambassadors Huu Chi Pham of Vietnam, Tissa Wijeratne of Sri Lanka, Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Ganbold Baasanjav of Mongolia, Albino Malungo of Angola, Farhat A. Abdussalm of Libya (CDA), Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan (CDA), Dionisios Sourvanos of Greece, Tajeldin Elhadi Eltahir of Sudan, Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Jaime Alberto Cabal Sanclemente of Colombia, Dato Haji Harun Ismail of Brunei Darussalam, Krzysztof Majka of Poland, Calin Fabian of Romania, Ceferino Adrian Valdez Peralta of Paraguay, Dusan Bella of Slovak Republic, Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Scott Wightman of United Kingdom, Manuel Lopez Trigo of Costa Rica, Aingeal O’onoghue of Ireland, Jad El Hassan of Lebanon, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic and Elisabeth Bertagnoli of Austria.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Andonov said: “Reflecting on the historical background of our National Day I think that there are a lot of similarities between Bulgaria and Korea: historically in terms of experiencing the consequences of foreign invasions; culturally in terms of invention of unique alphabet (Cyrillic alphabet and Hangul) and conceptually in terms of sharing today common values of democracy, market economy and protection of human rights, which are important prerequisites for even more dynamic bilateral cooperation between our two countries in the future.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this Article.)
Following the national anthems of the two countries, welcome speech by Ambassador Andonov and a congratulatory speech by Rep. Kim Young-Woo and a congratulatory toast by Honorary Consul General Kim Hi-yong, there were cultural performances by an attractive violin women duet and traditional Bulgarian folk dances presented by the students and co-eds of the Bulgarian Language Department of the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, who were all clad in traditional Bulgarian costumes.
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 mark it. May I thank you for your continued interest in Bulgaria and contribution to Bulgaria-Korea friendship over the years.
In 1990, March 3rd, which is the day of our liberation, was declared a National Day of my country. On March 3rd, 1878, a peace treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire was signed to end the 1877-1878 Russian-Turkish War. This treaty restored the Bulgarian statehood after 500 years of Ottoman rule. The Russian-Turkish war loomed after the atrocious suppression on the April Uprising in 1876, which provoked a huge response from Europe. After the Peace Treaty signed in San Stefano, Bulgaria appeared again on the European map. Today we are not only paying respect and give recognition to the sacrifices of Bulgarians participating in 1876 April Uprising, but also to the Russian soldiers and soldiers from Finland, Romania, Poland and other countries who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Bulgaria from the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Reflecting on the historical background of our National Day I think that there are a lot of similarities between Bulgaria and Korea: historically in terms of experiencing the consequences of foreign invasions; culturally in terms of invention of unique alphabet (Cyrillic alphabet and Hangul) and conceptually in terms of sharing today common values of democracy, market economy and protection of human rights, which are important prerequisites for even more dynamic bilateral cooperation between our two countries in the future.
The diplomatic relations between Republic of Bulgaria and Republic of Korea were established on March 23, 1990. Approaching its 25th anniversary next year, our relations already entered into a new stage with the Declaration of Strategic Partnership between EU and Republic of Korea and with the signature of two landmark agreements: Framework Agreement and Free Trade Agreement. For Bulgaria, being currently member of the EU and NATO, Republic of Korea is a partner of high priority in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria supports the ROK’s Trust-Building Process on the Korean Peninsula and welcomes the Northeast Asia Peace & Cooperation Initiative proposed by the President of the Republic of Korea H.E. Mme. Park Geun-hye. Bulgaria continues to support international efforts and dialogue aimed at achieving a denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
For us, Republic of Korea is also an increasingly influential actor on global issues. Its active diplomacy in the international forums, including as non-permanent member of the UNSC, makes it a key player in developing new paradigms on important issues from non-proliferation to green growth and development.
I believe, Bulgaria could attract the attention of the Korean companies, which wish to upgrade their business ties with EU, Middle East, Central Asia and CIS countries, as an appropriate manufacturing export base to all these markets and a gateway for Korean products to the EU, in particular.
I believe Bulgaria could be a good partner as well as an attractive destination for Korean SMEs seeking growth opportunities overseas, especially in the field of the information and communication technologies (ICT) & computer software development. Bulgaria is successfully positioning itself as a regional hub for ICT-related R&D services in Southeastern Europe.
As a regional transportation and logistical center of Southeastern Europe, Bulgaria could assist the efforts of Korean companies for their exports to Europe benefiting from the well-developed network of ports, airports, highways and logistical centers as well as communication networks.
The greatest treasure of both Bulgaria and Korea are their people with their creativity and innovation capabilities as well as with their rich cultures. In this regard, I would like to congratulate the President of the Republic of Korea H.E. Mme. Park Geun-hye for the successful completion of her first year in office and to wish her lots of positive energy and success in her endeavors to bring happiness to the Korean people.
Thank you very much once again for joining us and sharing our national celebration. I would especially like to thank Mr. Kim Hi Yong, Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Seoul for 22 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, Honorary Consul of Bulgaria in Busan for more active and dynamic relations between our countries in all aspects.
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.