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Kuwait celebrates 24th Liberation Day

Ambassador Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait hosted a reception at the Dynasty Hall of Hotel Shilla in Seoul on Feb. 25, 2015 in celebration of the 24th anniversary of Liberation of the country on February 26th 24 years ago.
The reception was attended by many distinguished guests from Korean society as well as from the Diplomatic Corps and other segments of international community in Korea.

▲Ambassador Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait (14th from left) poses with Speaker Chung Ui-hwa of National Assembly (16th from left), Minister of Health and Welfare Moon Hyong-pyo (12th from left) with many ambassadors.

Among them were Speaker Chung Ui-hwa of the National Assembly and Minister of Health and Welfare Moon Hyong-pyo and representatives of the business community, cultural circles and the media, who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
From the international community came many dignitaries, including foreign mission chiefs and senior diplomats.
There was a photo exhibition at the venue for the visitors to learn more about Kuwait.
Speaking to the Ambassador Albudaiwi of Kuwait said: “The strong and enduring friendship between Korea and Kuwait strengthens each day as we continuously intensify our economic cooperation and increase trade, as well as amplify our cultural exchanges in arts and sports. The diversity and depth of our relations are leading the two nations to gain resilience and commitment towards mutual benefit and common goals.” See excerpts from the speech:

Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait:
February is a joyous month for the State of Kuwait as it celebrates the 54th National Day on February 25 and the 24th Anniversary of Liberation Day on the following day, February 26. On behalf of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait, it is my great pleasure and honor to extend the warmest greetings and regards to the people and the Government of the Republic of Korea.
I am grateful to be able to celebrate these happy occasions in the Republic of Korea ? an ally and a partner in many ways since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979.
Strategically located at the head of the Arabian Gulf, the history of the State of Kuwait is deeply rooted in foreign trade and commerce, even before the discovery of oil. The prosperity of the State of Kuwait has depended on building harmonious relations with other nations.
The strong and enduring friendship between Korea and Kuwait strengthens each day as we continuously intensify our economic cooperation and increase trade, as well as amplify our cultural exchanges in arts and sports. The diversity and depth of our relations are leading the two nations to gain resilience and commitment towards mutual benefit and common goals.

▲Right to left: Ambassador Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait, Speaker Chung Ui-hwa of National Assembly and Minister of Health and Welfare Moon Hyong-pyo salute to Taegeuk-gi (National Flag) of Korea and the National Flag of the State of Kuwait.

The recent trends in commerce trade between the two nations show a positive picture. The trade volume between Kuwait and Korea exceeded US $18.9 billion in 2014, and Korean exports to Kuwait increased by 75% to US$1.98 billion in comparison to US$1.13 billion in 2013.According to the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, we have witnessed a sevenfold increase in trade value since the year 2000. The diversifying portfolio of the bilateral trade reflects the growth and the intensification of the trade flows into the future. While the majority of traded commodities between two nations remains dominated by petroleum and related products, other items like vehicles, shipbuilding, plant-building articles and electronics are on the rise. Kuwait is the 2nd largest crude oil supplier, and is the 3rdbiggest overseas construction market to Korea. Moreover, Korea is constantly among the top 5 main import partners of Kuwait, providing about 7% of total imports to Kuwait.
Similarly favorable trends are observed recently in terms of the issuances of tenders and contracts concerning development projects in Kuwait. In 2014, Korean companies collectively secured tenders worth a record-breaking US$7.8 billion, and currently more than 1,300 Korean engineers are facilitating projects worth US$21 billion in the construction sites in Kuwait. Notably, 26 out of the 30 Very Large Crude Carriers in the fleet of Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) are produced by Korean shipbuilding and marine engineering firms. In 2015, Korean companies will be charged with modernizing some of the outdated ships, including LPG Carriers for the Kuwait Oil Tanker Company.
Further cooperation and involvement by Korean private sector in the Kuwaiti market is expected with the announcement of the Kuwait Development Plan for 2015 ? 2020. Since 2010, the Development Plan has been formed on the basis of the Kuwait’s Vision for 2035, which aims to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial hub attracting investment and private sector involvement, while addressing the challenges and imbalances in the state budget and administration, as well as improving infrastructure and tackling social challenges. With plans to tender mega-projects worth US$60 billion in the next 4 ? 5 years, the Development Plan represents a tremendous potential and opportunity to reinforce sharing of knowledge and experience between Kuwait and Korea. Under the First Kuwait Development Plan for 2010 -2014, Korean companies were hugely successful in winning contracts valued up to US$12billion under the Kuwait Clean Fuel Project.
Our privileged relationship reveals itself in shared interest in infrastructure and economic development, but other areas of collaboration can play an essential role in our exchanges. The Development Plan emphasizes on social welfare, sustainability, human development and foreign direct investment promotion. To this end, Kuwait is taking steps to support innovation in the sectors of healthcare, culture, ICT, transportation and education. Kuwait has, and will continue to welcome Korean participation in realizing the State’s vision in development.

▲Newly accredited Ambassador and Mrs. Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of the Russian Federation (center and right) pose with Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post. Ambassador Tomonin speaks fluent Korean and has profound knowledge of Korea thanks to his previous tour of duty in Korea as a senior Russian diplomat.

Over the past few years, sustained high level interactions and exchanges have provided significant advance to the bilateral relations. In 2014 alone, officials from various government institutions, including the Ministries of Finance, Oil, Interior, Education and Defense, as well as the Supreme Court and the Parliament of Kuwait visited Korea and discussed cooperation with their Korean counterparts. In 2015 we look forward to the scheduled visit of Her Excellency President Park Geun-hye, which will be a testament to our shared commitment to the historic and proud partnership.
On the occasion of the National Day, I would like to recall a proud moment for the State of Kuwait in 2014. His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir of the State of Kuwait was honored with a Certificate of Appreciation and named “Humanitarian Leader” by the United Nations in September 2014, recognizing the remarkable acts of human kindness and generosity shown by the Amir. His philanthropic work will continue in 2015, when His Highness will be the host of the Third International Humanitarian Pledging Conference for Syria on March 31, 2015 in Kuwait City. Kuwait donated US$800 million to aid the Syrian crisis since 2013.
The State of Kuwait is humbled and honored to be recognized as the International Humanitarian Center by the United Nations, and I would like to reaffirm the commitment of the State of Kuwait to continue supporting humanitarian crises around the world, with solidarity and compassion.
Kuwait’s foreign policy is aligned with the Amir’s commitment to the world philanthropy and the promotion of peace. One of the main objectives of Kuwait’s foreign policy is to cooperate with all countries to maintain world security and stability, as well as reach sustainable development of societies. To this end, Kuwait effectively contributes to the international efforts aiming to resolve issues of poverty, disease, food security, water and energy, as well as terrorism, mainly in partnership with the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), and its association in the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab League. Kuwait has hosted a number of major international conferences and events, including the Arab Economic and Social Development Summits and Asian Cooperation Dialogue which reflects Kuwait’s efforts to bolster and expand cooperation in the international arena.
As a close friend and partner to Korea, the State of Kuwait is gratified to be the witness to the great accomplishments recorded by the Korean people, and is ambitious to work together towards common interests and mutual benefit. As Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, I am determined to make progress in this regard and foster a stronger sense of unity and partnership with Korea.
On this day of celebration, I avail myself of this opportunity to express our most profound gratitude and convey my best wishes to the well-being and prosperity of the friendly people and the government of the Republic of Korea and to Her Excellency President Park Geun-hye.

▲Photos on display at the venue showing various aspects of life in Kuwait.

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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