Ambassador Vitali V. Fen of the Republic of Uzbekistan is back in Korea. A former dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps with 18 years of service in Korea, Ambassador Fen is back with his spouse, Madam Lyudmila.
The government of Uzbekistan has re-appointed Ambassador Fen as new ambassador of Uzbekistan succeeding Ambassador Botirzon Asadov.
With Ambassador Fen back in place, it appears that Korea and Uzbekistan are now back in the proper track of very active cooperation and interaction in the economic, political, social and various other areas.
Ambassador Fen, now 70, doesn’t look his age, and many Koreans see him in the 60s.
Born and endowed with a very understanding disposition and generous mind plus the Korean-language ability, Ambassador Fen won many friends in Korea in all walks of life as well as in the government, particularly the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the diplomatic circles in Korea.
Ambassador Fen is a very generous person in nature and very kind in the treatment of people, wherefore he was a target of admiration among many people in Korea, regardless of difference in social status.
While serving as the dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Fen greatly contributed to the promotion of understanding, cooperation and friendship between Korea and other member countries of the diplomatic corps and not only at the governmental level but also in various civic activities.
Ambassador Fen is also familiar with President Moon Jae-in of Korea as President Moon and Ambassador Fen met each other on various occasions, especially in the movement designed to assist the segments of Korean society who needed help such as the small-medium business enterprises who were somewhat discriminated against by the big ones during the previous administrations.
Thanks to his outstanding Korean-language ability as well as his familiarity with the unique Korean culture, Ambassador Fen was very well received by all segments of Korean society as well as the Foreign Ministry.
Before his re-assignment to Korea, Ambassador Fen had already served in Seoul for a record length of 18 years until August 2013.
After nearly four years of retirement, Fen was re-appointed by the Uzbek government to represent his country to further strengthen the bilateral cooperative and friendly relations between Seoul and Tashkent.
Return of Ambassador Fen is considered to be well-timed in the fact that Korea and Uzbekistan celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Perhaps, it would more meaningful that he came at a time when the two countries have new leaders.
Korea is now under a new leader, President Moon Jae-in who assumed the Presidency on May 10 this year and Uzbekistan, too, has a new President barely one year old.
The two leaders are both young and energetic and have great ambitions to lead their country to a new height of development and growth.
Korea and Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations on Jan. 29, 1992 and since then the nations have engaged in vigorous cooperation in all areas. The foundation of bilateral relations between the two nations was laid on Dec. 30, 1991, when South Korea was among the first foreign countries to recognize Uzbekistan's independence.
Ambassador Fen served as the dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps for seven years from 2009 until his departure. Ambassador Fen and his wife, Mrs. Lyudmila Fen, also of Korean descent, are both well versed in Korean history and culture as well as the Korean language and literature.
The grandparents of Ambassador Fen were compulsorily relocated to the Soviet Union during the 1910-45 period of Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, and settled down in Vladivostok before being moved to the Central Asian region as a part of a mass deportation plan of the then Soviet Union in 1937.
Uzbekistan is also noted the largest number of Korean emigrants in that part of the world, where at one time the ethnic Koreans there totaled over 200,000.
All told, in the opinion of many people in Korea, who know the Fens, now it appears that Korea and Uzbekistan have now come back into the proper orbit of active cooperation and interaction.