Ambassador Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain said, “Spain is a modern country, the fourth economy in the euro zone and the fourteenth one in the world, boasting a “per capita” income estimated at 25,000 euros.”
Speaking at a reception he and Mrs. Oritiz hosted at at the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Hotel in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2018 in celebration of the Independence Day of Spain, he also stated that the number of Korean tourists has multiplied.
The celebration was also to commemorate the victory of Visigoth leader “Don Pelayo” in 718, and the 40th anniversary of the Constitution of 1978.
More than 400 guests including senior dignitaries from the government, members of the National Assembly, senior executives from Korean businesses, academia and diplomatic corps participated.
Among them were Deputy Minister Yoon Soon-gu for Political Affairs and Honorary Consul Choi Sam-seob for Spain in Busan. Attendance from the diplomatic community included Ambassadors Peteris Vaivars of Latvia, Stephan Auer of Germany, Adel Mohammad Adaileh of Jordan, Daul Matute-Mejia of Peru, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Bakyt Dyussenbayev of Kazakhstan, Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore, Yasumasa Nagamine of Japan, Harry B.Harris Jr. of the United States of America, Fernando Danus of Chile, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Rodolfo Solano Quiros of Costa Rica, Juan Pablo Rodriguez Barragan of Colombia, Olexander Horin of Ukraine.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Ortiz:
I have just celebrated the National Day of Spain, first in Seoul, on October 12th and then in Busan on the 15th. As is my custom, as Ambassador of Spain, I addressed the attendees in Spanish, the second international language in the world, shared by 20 countries and more than 500 million speakers, whose mother tongue is Spanish.
The King and Queen of Spain were in Covadonga this year to commemorate 1,300 years of the victory of Visigoth leader “Don Pelayo” in 718, against the Muslim invaders, which gave birth to Asturias, the first of the Christian Kingdoms to undertake the historic mission of rebuilding the old Roman Hispania. This anniversary reminds us that like Korea, Spain is a country with a long history.
That was my fifth time celebrating the National Day in the Republic of Korea, and it was my farewell party as well. During these years, we had solid and expanding bilateral relations, and the number of Korean tourists to Spain has multiplied by eight in just four years, which it contributes to the fact that we get to know each other better. Koreans are attracted by our friendliness and hospitality, our monuments, our nature, our cuisine and by the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James).
It has been a great joy for my family and me to live in Korea the last four years, having many possibilities of better knowing the Korean culture. I am very satisfied with the contacts I have had during this time with the government and Administration, the business world and the civil society.
In 2018, the participation of Spain in the Olympics and Paralympics Games of Pyeonchang in Korea brought us the joy of four Olympic medals after 24 years of long fruitless period. My country has a good number of great athletes in golf and tennis, soccer, basketball and motor racing, among others, we value sport a lot.
Spain and the Republic of Korea are friendly and allied countries, which are very close in defence of the values of freedom, democracy and human rights. We both also agree on multilateralism and free trade, against the new protectionism.
Within the framework of our bilateral relations, there should be more Korean investments in Spain. Our country offers security, modern infrastructures, a "business friendly" government, rule of law, tax deductions and the free entry of merchandises in the countries of the European Union. On the occasion of the visit of our Secretary of State for Commerce Ms. Xiana Margarida Méndez, next November 1rst, we will organise an Investment Forum in Seoul, in which hopefully we will attract potential inversors.
I am proud of these four years of service as Ambassador in the Republic of Korea. The number of Korean tourists has multiplied as I mentioned before. We have created a Spanish Chamber of Commerce, which already counts with 60 members. "Céspedes Park” in Changwon has been reopened. Korean Air and Asiana have launched two new direct air flights between Seoul and Barcelona. We have signed a "Working holidays" agreement that will facilitate the exchange of young people from both countries. Four Airbus tankers have been sold to the Korean Air Force, and last but not least, just over a year, Spain has an excellent Honorary Consul in Busan, Mr. Choi Sam-seob.
Spain is a modern country, the fourth economy in the euro zone and the fourteenth one in the world, boasting a “per capita” income estimated at 25,000 euros. It is a "soft power" with a European and a Latin American destiny (member of the EU, and of the Ibero-American Community of Nations). It celebrates its National Day on October 12th, date of the Discovery of the New World, which defines the historical greatness of our country. But we must think about the future, and therefore intensify our collaboration with Korea in R & D, Information and Communication Technologies in Science and in Biotechnologies. I am sure that we can combine the sense of Korean discipline and organization with the Spanish creative individualism. Korea and Spain are two passionate countries, with a universal vocation.
As I said to the Spanish citizens who were present at both National Day Receptions in Seoul and Busan, this year 2018 we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Constitution of 1978, a Constitution that must be defended (and perhaps modernized), which has given to Spain a long period of prosperity, decentralization and recognition of freedoms and also international prestige. We must face the future with hope and energy, with the pride of being Spanish citizens.
Spain and Korea, two geographically distant countries with obvious affinities, must undertake their future with serenity. The Republic of Korea is embarking on a process of reconciliation with the North, which I hope will lead to denuclearization and reunification. Spain, integrated into the European Union, must face the challenges of modernization and globalization. In any case, Spain and Korea walk along the same path with shared values and the desire to strengthen their friendly relationship.