Member of Parliament (MP) Tadeusz Aziewicz of the Republic of Poland, concurrently chairman of the Poland-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group (PKIFG), said that he has noticed many changes that have taken place in Korea since his last visit to Korea in 2007, including technological development such as in the LCD monitor industry, but that there were things that did not change. He said that they were the friendliness and kindness on the part of the Korean people who always wore smiles as he met them.
Chairman Aziewics made the remarks at a brief interview with The Korea Post at a dinner reception hosted by Ambassador and Krzysztof Majka of Poland at their residence in Seongbuk-dong, Seoul on June 13, 2014 in honor of Chairman Aziewicz and other members of his delegation.
The Polish parliamentary delegation, which included Deputy Chairmen MPs Zbigniew Chielowiec, Jan Łopata, Adam Rybakowics and Stanisław Wziatek, were visiting Korea on the occasion of the 25h anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Poland, to explore the possibility of further increasing cooperation between the two countries. (See further details of the interview at the end of this Article.)
Welcoming the guests, Ambassador Majka said that Korea and Poland have become strong strategic partners since they established diplomatic relations 25 years ago and that he was so happy that the dinner was hosted for the members of the Korean-Polish parliamentary friendship group who took strong interest in the promotion of close ties of relations and cooperation between the two countries.
They he said, “Today, we have already met the chairman and members of the Korean-Polish Parliamentary Friendship Association (KPPFA) of the National Assembly of Korea National and had interesting discussions on the promotion of relations and cooperation between Poland and Korea.”
A good joke is always welcome in reception speeches and Ambassador Majka obviously did not miss the opportunity. He said, “There are two things in a speech that are welcomed by the guests. One is a charismatic speech and the other is a short one. I cannot make a charismatic one, so I will make it short.” It attracted approving chuckles although it was by no means such a short speech.
Obviously by virtue of the sociability on the part of Ambassador and Mrs. Majka, there were a good number of prominent civic figures of Korea attending the reception.
They included Chairman Park Yong-hae of the Korea-Poland Friendship Association (Pro Polonia); Maj. Gens. Berndt Grundevik (Member of the Swedish Delegation of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission [NNSC] of the Korean Armistice) and Urs Gerber (Member of the Swiss Delegation of the NNSC); former Korean Ambassadors Suh Dae-won to Hungary (president Korean Food Globalization Committee and president of Asian Go [Baduk] Federation) and Lee Jun-jae to Poland; Founder Kim Chan-jin of Barun Law (former National Assemblyman [15th Term]); Mrs. Young A. Lee (spouse of Founder Kim and former National Assemblywoman [17th Term]); Chairman Minn Woong-Kih of Nami Island (AKA “President of the Republic of Nami Island”); Vice President Lee Kye-Young of Nami Island (spouse of Chairman Minn); Vice President Kim Do-hyun of Samsung Electronics for Global Public Affairs Group; Vice Chairman Kim Wook of Korea Importers Association; General Manager Christopher Zimmer of Lufthansa; Director Lee Seung-sun of Keimyung F. Chopin Academy of Music at Keimyung University; and Professor Cheong Byung-kwon of Department of Polish Language at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. From the media came Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (publisher of one leading English print monthly and three electric media units).
The food and beverage from the Millennium Seoul Hilton were excellent, which included Korean kimchi and kimchijjigae* (kimchi stew), which were known to be made personally by Mrs. Majka who has much knowledge and experience in making tasty traditional Korean kimchi.
Also on the food table was Bigos, which is considered to be the Polish counterpart of the Korean kimchijjigae.
Ambassador and Mrs. Majka are known to have great love for Korean kimchi and Mrs. Majka for her exceptional skill for making taste kimchi. She is also known for making flavorful kimchijjigae (Kimchi stew) that has many things in common with ‘Polish kimchijjigae’ named in Polish language Bigos**.
The service of the Hilton employees, such as Byung-Ik Woo, was excellent and merited nice remarks as well as the tasty food. They were very well-mannered and helpful.
*Kimchijjigae stew. Well-fermented winter kimchi without fish pickles is used with unfrozen neck portion of pork. The kimchi and pork are boiled with bean curd (Dubu in Korea and Tofu in Japanese), clavaria mushroom, red pepper powder, garlic, onion, ginger, a little bit of soju and cider. Depending on families, sausages and ham are also used when the neck portion of pork is not available.
**Bigos is a traditional Polish national dish known since XVI century. Typical ingredients of this meat stew include white cabbage, sauerkraut (kapusta kiszona), various cuts of meat, mushroom, and onion. The combination of these ingredients cooked together make for a clean and sour taste. The meats may include port (often smoked), bacon, beef, veal, and sausage. It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, allspice, bay leaf, marjoram, dried or smoked plums and other ingredients. There is no single specific recipe for a Bigots, as recipies vary considerably from region to region and from family to family.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Majka:Ladies and Gentlemen, all our Dear Guests!
Both I and my wife Zofia, we are delighted to have you at our residence.
The dinner tonight is hosted by us to mark an official visit to Korea of a group of Members of the Polish Parliament. Although in Poland they represent different political fractions and political clubs, however, they have come to Seoul complaisant and united in their special interest in Korea.
They are members of the Poland-Korea Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, headed by its chairman, Honorable Mr. Tadeusz Aziewicz. The other members of the Group are Honorable Mr. Chmielowiec Zbigniew, Mr. Łopata Jan, Mr. Rybakowicz Adam and Mr. Wziatek Stanislaw.
Gentlemen welcome to Korea!
The well-known proverb in Korea says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
The first important step in the Polish-Korean relations was made 25 years ago when an agreement on establishing the diplomatic relations between our countries was signed. This year we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of this event. Since then we made many important and in the right direction steps to further develop those relations. It would be too long to enumerate all of them. They were like stepping stones leading us to the stage when we can call our relations as the strategic one.
Last year, during the state visit to Korea of the Polish President, both Presidents HE Bronislaw Komorowski and HE Park Geun-hye came to the conclusion that Poland and Korea have achieved in their bilateral relations a level of engagement which can be called a strategic one. As a result, a Declaration on Strategic Relations between Poland and Korea was adopted. This was the most recent stepping stone on our road towards still further successful cooperation.
Present visit of Members of the Polish Parliament makes our relations even more comprehensive and enriched.
During the last 2 days Polish Parliamentarians had a series of meetings and rounds of discussions with the Korean Members of the National Assembly including a meeting with the Speaker of the NA - HE Chung Ui-Hwa who himself was the Chairman of Korea-Poland Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group in NA for 8 years.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It would be impossible to achieve a high level in our bilateral relations without remarkable efforts of many people. Among them were certainly former ambassadors of Korea to Poland HE Paek Youngsun and HE Lee Jun-jae. They are here tonight with us and let us offer them a special round of applause. (Applause!)
Each speech should be short or charismatic. Because in front of such an exclusive gathering, all our dear guests, it is very difficult to sound charismatically, let me hence be brief and invite you to the table.
Excerpts from the interview with Chairman MP Tadeusz Aziewicz :
Question: What is the main purpose of your visit to Korea this time?
Answer: We celebrate the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and Korea. Korea is a strong strategic partner of Poland for mutual cooperation.
Q: What are the areas where increased cooperation between the two countries is most desired?
A: I think that the main area is the economy. Korea invests a lot of money in Poland. We want more investment in Poland and we are trying to make it very easy for Korean investment into the Polish market.
We also want to expand our market in Korea. We have very good meat to sell here. I live in the northern part of Poland and we have very good agricultural products. We have very good meat we can sell here. For example, I live in the north part of Poland and we are producing goods competitive in price and quality and I am looking for a partner here in Korea.
Q: Korea is divided and we have problems with North Korea. Do you have any suggestions for the promotion of peace on the Korean peninsula?
A: We, too, had a political transition in Poland from communism to democracy and we changed our economy. We have lots of experiences and we can share our experience in this area. I hope that Korea will recover reunification soon but I know that such transformation will take a long time.
Q: In South Korea, we want peace and peaceful existence with North Korea, but North Korea has nuclear weapons. Can you see any solution to this problem?
A: There is no quick solution. We came here to listen and learn more about the issue. However, I think that the whole whole world is supporting you. I think if there is one who will find the solution to unification problem of the Korean peninsula, one should win a Nobel Peace Prize.
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