Ambassador Antoine Azzam of Lebanon in Seoul said, “Economically, due to Lebanese partnerships with Korean companies, we must double our efforts to bring Lebanon to Korea, through import of Lebanese, wines, quality canned foods and olive oil.”
Speaking with Korean guests at his residence at a luncheon he hosted on July 23, 2018, Ambassador Antoine Azzam said, “On the cultural and educational fronts, Korea is offering scholarships to Lebanese students and spreading its wonderful culture in Lebanon through its embassy in Beirut and the active role of the ROK Army battalion in Southern Lebanon.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this article.)
The luncheon was attended mostly by former Korean ambassadors in Lebanon, leaders of the peace-keeping Korean Army troops in Lebanon and a media representative (Publisher Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media).
The successive Lebanese ambassadors and their spouses are noted for their friendly feelings toward the Korean people and exemplary interest in mingling with the Korean people, especially the local Koreans (“real Koreans”).
Attending the luncheon among other guests were former Korean Ambassadors to Lebanon Chung Jin-ho (1997), Kim Young-sun (2003), Park Chan-jin (2006), Lee Young-ha (2009), Kim Byoung-ki (2011) and Choi Jong-il (2013). Then there were Assistant Director Ms. Choi Myung-joo of Middle East Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colonel Koo Suek-mo of the 21st Dongmyeong Unit (departing for Lebanon on Aug. 21, 2018) Major Yuk Geun-seong, Intelligence officer, and Lieutenant Jang Su-yeon of the 21st Dongmyeong Unit (interpreter officer).
Excerpts from welcome remarks by Ambassador Antoine Azzam of Lebanon:
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you in this House of Lebanon! I am so touched and honored by your presence!
When I was appointed to the Republic of Korea last January, I was thrilled, excited and soon realized the challenges I would face:
-Economically, due to Lebanese partnerships with Korean companies we must double the efforts to bring Lebanon to Korea, through imports of Lebanese wines, quality canned foods and olive oil.
-On the Cultural and Educational fronts, Korea is offering scholarships to Lebanese students and spreading its wonderful culture in Lebanon through its embassy in Beirut and the active role of the ROK battalion in Southern Lebanon (Marhaba, language program, Taekwondo and cultural events).
Due to our similar fate, suffering from our neighboring countries, Korea has been compassionate with Lebanon and soon after the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon, the Korean government decided to deploy a battalion within the United Nations Interim Force for peace keeping in Lebanon (UNIFIL). During my official visit to H. E. President Moon Jae-in last April at the Blue House, His Excellency assured to me that Korea will continue its efforts in the peacekeeping force through the ROK battalion, saying it’s the longest ongoing mission for a Korean battalion deployed abroad. President Moon reaffirmed that Korea will remain committed to the support of Lebanon’s stability, security and sustainable development through Korea’s participation in the Rome Conference made to support the Lebanese Armed Forces as well as during the Cèdre Conference created to support the Lebanese economy suffering from the presence of 2 million Syrian and Palestinian refugees and displaced persons.
We are very honored to welcome with us today Colonel Koo, Commander of the 21st Dongmyeong Unit departing for Lebanon on August 21st, 2018 along with 330 brave Korean soldiers to pursue the great peacekeeping mission within the UNIFIL. We wish them all success in this mission.
The objective of this friendly lunch is to gather the Lebanese family in Korea, each and every Ambassador, Diplomat, soldier who has served in Lebanon is part of the Lebanese family in Korea! Even though the Lebanese community in Korea is not a large one, the friends of Lebanon are numerous. We are counting on you and your support to create a Korean-Lebanese friendship association and benefit from your experience to enhance our bilateral relations.
I am confident that, with your support, the Embassy of Lebanon in Seoul will have a great network on both the political and economic levels.
I look forward to benefiting from your excellencies’ experience for the glory of Korea and Lebanon.
God bless Korea, long live Lebanon!