Ambassador Mohamed Alharthy of the Sultanate of Oman in Seoul stunned the Korean audience with an almost impeccable Korean speech to some 500 distinguished guests, at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul at noon on Nov. 11, 2017, which was in celebration of the 47th National Day of Oman, the 77th birthday anniversary of H.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said and the 42nd year of establishment of diplomatic relations between Oman and Korea.
He said: “Yeoreobun annyeong haseyo, gamsa hamnida. Areumdaun nal imnida. Jeojui Haengsae-e wajusyeoseo jeongmal gamsa deurimnida.” It translates: “All the distinguished guests, my sincere greetings and thank you for your kind attendance. It is a beautiful day and I am so grateful to all the guests who grace us today with their kind attendance.”
Almost all the Korean guests at the party whispered among themselves, “Why, he speaks Korean just like a Korean!”
Perhaps, a nice comment is in order for Ms. Park Myung-hee, the old-timer Korean secretary to the ambassador, who might have been responsible for the almost perfect Korean remarks made by the ambassador.
Meriting attention among the remarks made by Ambassador Alharthy that day were references to the bilateral economic cooperation. He said in part: “Oman’s economic strategy is based on economic principles of openness to global markets and economic diversification. The investment opportunities and incentives offered by Oman have enabled to attract local and foreign investors. Among these advantages are security, political stability and a climate of economic freedom that permits foreigners to own projects, beside other facilities in varies industrial areas and free economic zones.”
Regarding Korea, he said that Omani-Korean relations cooperation has witnessed development in varies areas and that Korean companies’ participation in the development of many projects has increased to cover constructions, industry, petrochemical and others.
“The Oman embassy in Korea,” he assured, “is keen to widening and deepening the way of cooperation to include energy, technology, culture, healthcare, education, tourism, manufacturing, logistics, and other areas.” He then reminded the audience that there were wide projects, opportunities and incentives that encouraged such collaboration and partnership between Oman and Korea. (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this report.)
Ambassador Alharthy’s welcome speech was seconded to by a congratulatory message by Vice Minister Son Byeong-suk of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, who personally visited Oman last September.
He said that in 1997 Oman offered USD50,000 to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization becoming the first donor country among all the Arab nations and cited warm support Oman gave to Korea, including in Korea’s bid to host the Yeosu EXPO in 2012.
“Oman and Korea have maintained complementary cooperation,” he said, “in which Oman is a main energy supplier to Korea and Korea participates in multiple projects in Oman.” Then he gave his personal experience from his visit to Oman.
He said: “During my visit in September, I had bilateral meetings with Omani government officials during which we shared ideas and built common grounds on the economic cooperation model between the two countries. With H.E. Ahmed bin Mohamed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, and H.E. Yahya bin Said bin Abdullah al Jabri, Chairman of the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, I discussed ways to enhance strategic cooperation on the overall urban development as well as transport infrastructure such as intelligent transport system, smart highway and railways.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this report.)
It was one of the best attended National Day functions this year. Among the Korean guests in attendance, besides Vice Minister Son, were Reps. Kim Han-Jung of the ruling Democratic Party and Song Seog-Jun the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Yu Myung-hwan, Director Park Yong-min of Middle Easter and African Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, South Korean Stem-cell Research Expert Hwang Woo-Suk, and Vice President Jeong Yong-hoon of LG International. From the media came many publishers and editors who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post with his editors who put out a total of five media publications, three in English and two in the Korean language.
The food and beverage, in the opinion of many guests, were among the best diplomatic functions in Seoul so far this year—with a special throw-in, traditional Omani delicacies such as Omani dates.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Alharthy:
At the outset, we extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to you for your attendance in this meaningful day, in which Oman celebrates the glorious forty-seventh national day. Oman has achieved progress and prosperity in various areas of life under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The Omani march of renaissance enters into a new stage filled with hopes and confidence in achieving further progress and prosperity for the homeland and the citizen, and working to support and expand the legislative, legal and executive powers, democratic practice, enhancing the consultation council approach, the independence of the judiciary and the public prosecution, to allow Omani citizens to play their role and participate in development, advancement and decision-making.
The foreign policy of Oman is adopting an approach based on values of peace, co-existence, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, as well as respect for principles of justice, equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of others.
Oman is an advocate of settlement of disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with United Nations Charter and rules of the International Law with the prime aim of fostering confidence, mutual respect and good neighborliness in a manner that safeguards for nations their security, stability and prosperity.
Oman successful diplomacy in addressing and resolving many issues on the regional and international levels, have earned Oman international reputation and recognition in the service of world peace.
Oman economic strategy is based on economic principles of openness to global markets and economic diversification. The investment opportunities and incentives offered by Oman have enabled to attract local and foreign investors. Among these advantages being security, political stability and a climate of economic freedom that permits foreigners to own projects, beside other facilities in varies industrial areas and free economic zones.
Oman-Korea relation and cooperation has witnessed development in varies areas. Korean companies’ participation in the development of many projects has increased to cover constructions, industry, petrochemical and others. The Oman embassy in Korea is keen to widen and deepen the way of cooperation to include energy, technology, culture, healthcare, education, tourism, manufacturing, logistics, and other. There are wide projects, opportunities and incentives that encourage such collaboration and partnership between Oman and Korea.
Oman also is a beautiful country with many appealing sites and destinations including its unique heritage, rich culture, majestic landscape, beautiful nature and beaches, and essence of hospitality.
In closing, I’d like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to Ministry of Foreign affairs, other government and private organization, cultural, art, media association and friendly Korean people for their continues support and cooperation. Our thanks and cooperation goes to all of you. We hope the relation and cooperation between Oman and Korea more prosperous and development. We hope that the whole world live in security, stability, prosperity and peace
Congratulatory remarks by Korean government representative (Vice Minister Son):
On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend my sincere congratulations on the 47th National Day of the Sultanate of Oman and the 77th birthday anniversary of H.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
Last September, I visited Oman to share the development plans of Korea and Oman and discuss a model for economic cooperation between the two countries.
While I have had a very good impression of Oman on the warm welcome and hospitality I received back then, it is my great pleasure and honor to attend this meaningful occasion today.
Since establishing diplomatic ties in 1974, Oman and Korea have maintained firm and friendly relations for more than 40 years.
Historically, however, the exchanges between the two countries began a long time ago.
The relationship between Omanis and Koreans may date back to the times when the merchants of Oman, a maritime powerhouse, visited Goryeo or probably a kingdom that existed earlier, carrying frankincense.
That first step made for the trade of a single item has expanded into exchanges and cooperation in economic, social, and cultural fields and various other realms.
In particular, in 1997, Oman offered USD50,000 to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO), becoming the first donor country among Arab nations.
Including its full support for Korea to win a bid to host the Yeosu EXPO in 2012, Oman has stood firmly by Korea’s side in various international settings, for example, the United Nations.
Our partnership does not stop there.
Oman and Korea have maintained complementary cooperation in which Oman is a main energy supplier to Korea and Korea participates in multiple projects in Oman.
During my visit in September, I had bilateral meetings with Omani government officials during which we shared ideas and built common grounds on the economic cooperation model between the two countries.
With H.E. Ahmed bin Mohamed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, and H.E. Yahya bin Said bin Abdullah al Jabri, Chairman of the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, I discussed ways to enhance strategic cooperation on the overall urban development as well as transport infrastructure such as intelligent transport system, smart highway and railways.
At the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), I signed an MOU for technical cooperation on desalination and water resources with H.E. Sayyid Badr Hamad Albusaidi, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Likewise, I hope cooperation in the infrastructure field between Korea and Oman will further develop going forward.
Moreover, I look forward to seeing more opportunities for Korea’s experience and technology to be utilized in Oman’s fulfillment of Vision 2020, currently in place, and Vision 2040, which is being formulated.
I heard that there is an Omani proverb that goes in English as "the person you travel with is more important than the journey itself".
Just like this saying, I hope that Oman and Korea work together, helping and encouraging each other as friends and companions on our journey towards growth and prosperity.
Once again extending my warm congratulations, I wish for the continued development of bilateral relations and an everlasting friendship between the people of our two countries. Shukran-Jazeeran!