UPDATE : 2019.9.18 WED 09:47
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President Vejonis shows special friendship with Korea attending Pyeongchang eventAmb. Vaivars states at the 100th National day of Latvia

Ambassador Peteris Vaivars of Latvia said, “I am proud that the President of the Republic of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vējonis, was among of the first world leaders to confirm his participation at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games" Speaking at the celebration meeting of the 100th anniversary of the Proclamtion of Latvia, he said, "The Summit Meeting with President Moon Jae-in turned out as a constructive and both countries linking dialogue and the bilateral visits of three ministers from Latvia (Foreign Affairs, Economics and Defence) clearly indicated Latvia’s interest to strengthen and develop bilateral cooperation in the respective fields."

Ambassador Peteris Vaivars of Latvia delivers a welcoming remark to the guests.

The party was attended by Korean and international guests, as well as the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps with their spouses.

Among the guests in attendance were lawmaker Shim Ki-joon of the Democratic Party and Ambassadors Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Nabih El Abed of Tunisia, Chaim Choshen of Israel, Andrei Popkov of Belarus, Abida Islam of Bangladesh, Olexander Horin of Ukraine, Tomas Husak of Czech Republic, Chafik Rachadi of Morocco.

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Vaivars:

Your Excellency Honorable Shim Ki-joon, Your Excellency Ambassador Kim Gunn, Your Excellencies Ambassadors, Distinguished guests, Dear Friends!

Welcome to Latvia’s 100th Birthday party! How do you feel tonight?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a birthday cake with 100 candles but we have 5 times more friends with us here tonight which is even more important.

I am happy to stand in front of you all with whom we were able to make friendship within short 3 years being in Korea.

And this event is to say Thank you for your friendship, cooperation, devotion and love towards Latvia.

Ambassador Vaivars of Latvia (10th from left, front row) poses with other ambassadors.

I also would like to extend our special welcome to all Latvians and their families along with the Emīls Dārziņš mixed choir members who made their way to this event from Latvia! We are always happy to celebrate with you!

This year of 2018 was indeed a very special year for Latvia, Korea and for the whole world. PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and summit diplomacy of the President Moon Jae-in led to the peace and cooperation on Korean peninsula.

I am proud that the President of the Republic of Latvia H.E. Raimonds Vējonis was among of the first world leaders to confirm his participation at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in turned out as a constructive and both countries linking dialogue. Bilateral visits of three ministers from Latvia (Foreign Affairs, Economics and Defence) clearly indicated Latvia’s interest to strengthen and develop bilateral cooperation in the respective fields.

In this regard, I am very confident that in its famous Pali-Pali style, Korea will find the way how to remove itself from the shortlist of countries which head of state, head of government and ministers have never visited Latvia for a bilateral visit. We are looking forward to welcome Korean politicians in Latvia any time.

Mrs. Rina Okumura Vaivars with other spouses of ambassadors at the reception.

I am particularly proud of my extremely compact Embassy team, especially our local staff and our family members who sacrifice a lot for our daily busy work. My very special thanks also goes to our Honorary Consul General Mr. Kwon and his team. Unfortunately he could not attend this reception tonight because he is invited by the President of Latvia to attend the State Award Ceremony in Riga Castle and now is on the visit to Latvia.

Thank you for a great job and devotion!

In conclusion, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for your support, friendship and cooperation! You all are making significant contribution to Latvia – Korea relations and I do hope you do so in the future.

And the last but not least – special thanks to my wife Rina, who by the way is performing on stage tonight, for her strong support and understanding!

Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post (third from left) poses with the Lotte Tower managers at the Lotte Seoul Sky.

Excerpts from the speech of H.E. Shim Ki-joon:

It’s my honor to speak here on behalf of the Korean government. Thank you, Ambassador Vaivars, for letting me be part of this celebration. My congratulations to the Latvian people for the 100th anniversary of Independence.

I heard that Latvia restored independence by singing together. So it is called as ‘Singing Revolution’.

You may have heard a korean song titled ‘million roses’. That is my favorite song. Actually, it is a Latvian song , called ‘Davaja Marina’(=Life given by MARA)’. Part of the Korean lyrics says ‘without a hateful heart, when you just give love, millions of roses will bloom.’ I feel reconciliation, love and peace from this song.

Lyrics remind me of my government’s effort to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude to the Latvian government for its continued support for this.

Distinguished guests,

Korea and Latvia attained full membership to the UN on the very same day, September 17 1991. We established diplomatic relations a month later. Our diplomatic history is relatively short and our economic relationship has remained at a moderate level. However, there are positive signs that our two countries are getting much closer. President Vejonis, Deputy Prime Minister Ašeradens, Foreign Minister Rinkevics, and Defense Minister Bergmanis―visited Korea during the Winter Olympics in February. Our foreign ministers met twice this year. All these show that our two countries are committed to further strengthening our mutual friendship.

In the area of economic cooperation, trade volume between our two countries has been growing since last year. Furthermore, increasing number of Korean business leaders find Latvia an attractive investment destination. Right after the last foreign minister's meeting, in New York in September, our two countries signed Air Services Agreement. When this agreement comes into effect, it will bring about a substantial increase in the exchange of people and goods.

In this year’s Song and Dance Celebrations, which is held in Latvia every five years, songs and dances from our Gangneung Dano Festival, one of Korea’s intangible cultural assets, was performed.

I am confident that our two countries have great potentials of cultivating cooperation and developing a robust relationship in the years to come.

Let me congratulate once again the 100th anniversary of Latvia’s Independence. Celebrating the 100th anniversary also means promising a new 100 years. I wish Latvia prosperity and an everlasting friendship with Korea. Paldies! (=Thank you)

Shin Jin-seon  edt@koreapost.com

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