Ambassador Figueroa of Mexico said, “The Mexican government has recognized the success of President Moon Jae-in’s policy towards North Korea, resulting in the first inter-Korean summit in 13 years, which opened the path to a historic summit between the United States and North Korea last June.”
Speaking at a reception he and Mrs. Fgueroa hosted at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Sept. 14, 2018 to celebrate the 208th anniversary of Mexico, Ambassador Fgueroa added: “I am certain that in the coming year we will witness new positive developments in our relationship.” (See excerpts from his speech toward the end of this article.)
There were many important guests attending the party. They included Deputy Minister Bahk Sahng-hoon for Public Diplomacy, Ambassadors Daul Matute-Mejia of Peru,Vitali Fen of Uzbekistan,Luis Pablo Ossio Bustillos of Bolivia(CDA),Wylbur Chisiya Simuusa of Zambia,Irineo Raul Silvero Silvagni of Paraguay,Fernando Danus of Chile,Luis Fernando de Andrade Serra of Brazil,Luis Fernando Iribarne Restuccia of Uruguay,Zoran Kazazovic of Serbia,Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbert of Ecuador,Thura Thet Oo Maung of Myanmar.
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Figueroa said in part, “President elect López Obrador has committed to economic stability and social justice and has already expressed his willingness to foster the ties with Korea, a close and reliable friend of Mexico.”
Speaking at a reception he and Mrs. Fgueroa hosted at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Sept. 14, 2018 to celebrate the 208th anniversary of Mexico, Ambassador Fgueroa added: “I am certain that in the coming year we will witness new positive developments in our relationship.”
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Figueroa Fischer of Mexico:
With great pleasure I welcome you all to the 208th celebration of Mexico’s Independence Day. I welcome in particular some high level visitors from Mexico: the Navy Viceminister, Admiral Angel Enrique Sarmiento; The Senior Officer of the Ministry of Defense, General Eduardo Zárate Landeros; the President of the Mexican Olympic Committee, Mr. Carlos Padilla Becerra; the president of Mexico’s Taekwondó Federation, Mr. Francisco González Pinedo, and many Korean personalities that I cannot name personnaly because of time constrains. I warmly welcome the new Director General for Latin American and Caribbean Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jo Yung-joon.
This is a timely occasion to reflect on the year that has just passed, for Mexico and for Korea. It has been a year full of challenges, but also of unique opportunities. We had to stand for the values that have given us strength, in particular a ruled based international order, sustainable development and free trade. Many certainties have been shaken, but Korea and Mexico remain on the same side. Regarding the Korean Penninsula, we witnessed how fast the winds of dialogue and peace took over the dark clouds of aggression in just a few months.
The Mexican government has recognized the success of President Moon Jae-in’s policy towards North Korea, resulting in the first interkorean summit in 13 years, which opened the path to a historic summit between the United States and North Korea last June. My government fully supports the Republic of Korea endeavors to achieve complete denuclearization and to establish a lasting peace in the Korean Peninsula, and wishes great success to the third Summit between President Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un.
In the year that has just passed, Mexico and Korea have strengthened their relationship in all orders. Our foreign and finance ministers held consultations, and the interparliamentary dialogue took place at the highest level with the visit of the President of the Senate, Ernesto Cordero, to Korea, last January.
The Presidents of Chile, Colombia, Perú and Mexico met in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on July 24, in the 13th summit of the Pacific Alliance. They welcomed Korea as a candidate to attain the status of Associated State of the Alliance, a decision that means, in the near future, a stronger economic association between Korea and the four Latin American countries. Although there is no bilateral free trade agreement with Mexico, Korea is already our sixth trade partner, and trade negotiations might begin next year. Our Strategic Partnership will then make a great leap.
Ambassador Bahk, Ladies and gentlemen:
One year ago, two earthquakes shook Central and South Mexico, leaving great losses and destructions. The international solidarity was outstanding. Korea was one of the first countries to act, through its government, its civil society and its private sector, which made collectively donations in the order of several millions of dollars.
On behalf of my government, I extend the gratitude of the Mexican people to the great country of Korea. One brigade from this country, the 911 Private Search & Rescue Team Association, flew to Mexico City to work at a collapsed building. I take the opportunity today to recognize Mr. Lee Kang-woo, the Chairman of this non profit organization, who is right now with us. Mr. Lee, I invite you to come to the stage, I will deliver to you a public recognition.
Thank you again, Mr. Lee Kang-woo, for your selflessness and dedication to helping those in the need.
The gratitude of the Mexican people was also expressed during the Russia soccer world cup. Who will forget thousands of Mexicans chanting “Korean, you are now my brother”? And the workers of the Kia factory in Monterrey, receiving a truck full of Mexican beer?
In 56 years of bilateral relations, our people have never been so close. Maybe the direct flight between Incheon and Mexico City, which began last year, has been of some help. The fact is, we expect more than 100 thousand tourists from Korea in Mexico this year. And more than 16 thousand Mexican tourists in Korea.
Culture is a powerful bond. Our people are fascinated by the other’s culture. It seems that today Kpop is an obliged transit in the life of any young Mexican. In Korea, the movie “Coco” was quite a sensation at the beginning of this year. Aspects unknown of Mexican culture are now reaching this country.
A few months ago, we opened the first Mexican garden in Korea. Millions of visitors from now on, will stroll over a grass pyramid and walk between orange, red and blue walls, at the Suncheonman Bay National Garden. You can see some pictures at the right wall of this room of the Mexican garden. I invite you to visit it, you will be enchanted. This garden was possible thanks to a collaboration between the embassy, the local authorities of Suncheon and its university, as well as the private sector.
Let me finish my words looking forward. Mexico hold national elections in July. Our next president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was elected with 53% of the popular vote. He will be inaugurated on December first. We also renewed our Senate and our Chamber of Deputies. For the first time in our history, women make up 50% of our legislative body. This is a concrete expression of political maturity and gender equity that is not easy to find around the world.
President elect López Obrador has committed to economic stability and social justice. He already expressed his willingness to foster the ties with Korea, a close and reliable friend of Mexico. I am certain that in the coming year we will witness new positive developments in our relationship.
I invite all of you to enjoy this commemoration of Mexico’s struggle for Independence. In this special date, we have cultural performances in several parts of Korea, as well as a gastronomic festival at this hotel. I thank all the important parners of Mexico who sponsored generously this event and the gastronomic festival.
This year, the action is outside. At the end of the ceremony, we invite you to taste Mexican dishes and enjoy mariachi music at the terrace, the door is at the left side of the room.
Enjoy the evening. Viva México, y viva Corea!