On 3 October H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Bulgaria and his wife

gave a reception at Hilton Hotel Sofia on the occasion of the National Foundation day. Koreans celebrate it with special pride and emotion on October 3rd as it is linked to the first Korean state - Ancient Chosson, founded in the distant 2333 BC.

The reception was attended by officials, ambassadors, politicians, representatives of the media and business, of cultural institutions, Koreans living in our country as well as friends of Korea. In his welcome speech H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu first thanked them for attending the reception and then said:  

Today is the 4,352nd anniversary of the foundation of the nation. More than 4,000 years after the establishment of the nation with the philosophy of "benefiting all human kind", Korea has gone through many years of adversity, hardship and glory in its long history, and ended up having achieved economic prosperity and political stability based on modern democracy.

The prominent scholar Prof. Paul Kennedy who wrote the book "The Rise and the Fall of the Great Powers" once described Korea as the "Miracle on the Han River" also mentioned that "The Republic of Korea is really a puzzling case".

As the professor put it symbolically, the Republic of Korea in the beginning of the 1960’s was of course among the poorest countries in the world. "Extreme poverty is the most proper word to describe the condition".

However nowadays the results of a series of significant breakthroughs, which the professor mentioned as puzzling, are very obvious: the country is now among the biggest economies in the world with population of above 50 Million and with 1.73 trillion US dollars Gross National Product, ranked as 11thlargest economy in the world and 7thlargest in terms of trade volume of 1.1 trillion US dollars.

The miracle of Korea is demonstrated by many other economic statistics. In terms of the gross national per capita annual income, last year it surpassed 31,000 US Dollars making the nation the seventh member of the so-called "30-50 Club" of economic power houses whose annual per capita income and population are over 30,000 UD dollars/and over 50 million populations.

This is very symbolic but more symbolic is that Korea has achieved it within less than 60 years since it took a first step forward from the extreme poverty that the country had suffered as a newly liberated nation after World War II.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, and fellow Koreans, as you may be aware, next year the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Bulgaria will celebrate the 30thAnniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.

Over the course of last 29 years, Korea and Bulgaria have successfully developed their relationship into a “Comprehensive Future-Oriented Strategic Partnership”.

Based on many things done, Korea and Bulgaria now are entering the stage of full-fledged economic and industrial partnership recording about 400 million US dollar- sized annual trade volume which is still very small compared to their combined economic size and potentials.

Last week, I went to Korea accompanying the Bulgarian Prime Minister H. E. Boyko Borissov. It was really an honor and a privilege.

In the course of 3 day-long official visit, Prime Minister Borissov met with the President of the Republic of Korea H.E. Moon Jae-in.

At the summit meeting the Prime Minister reaffirmed that Korea and Bulgaria have established good relations in the governmental, cultural and diplomatic fields. And emphasized strongly that now is the right moment to create a practical partnership in the field of business and industry to a very large scale in line with the strategic partnership we’ve made. Prime Minister also mentioned that it is right time for Korean companies to take it very seriously to invest in Bulgaria in order to get them to create broader business opportunities.

As a response, President Moon Jae-in at the summit very clearly pointed out that thanks to the outstanding leadership of Prime Minister Borissov, Bulgaria plays a leading role for the Balkan region and has become one of the highest performing countries with higher growth rate among the members of the European Union.

It was extremely meaningful that the Prime Minister’s official visit to Korea has given useful directions to both governments and delegates for the way to renewing the friendship and building mutual prosperity through increasing the volume of trade and investment between the two countries.

Next year is an important year marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Bulgaria and on this occasion the Korean government and business community will focus on promoting practical projects not only in the fields of economy, energy, commerce and investments but also in education, culture, sports, cuisine and many other areas.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations which is next year, I would like to congratulate Korea and Bulgaria on their successful journey and hope to take this journey as a foothold for the economic prosperity and stability for us all.

At today’s reception, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to all of you tonight, who came here Hilton Hotel to celebrate the achievements Korea has made and the friendship we have built together.

 I hope you will have a pleasant evening time with the showcases prepared by several Korean companies such as Samsung, LG, Hyundai, KIA motors and also with tasteful Korean cuisine my embassy staff humbly provide.

And Lastly, I would like to kindly ask you to celebrate the eve of the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations between Korea and Bulgaria.

Perhaps, it would be too early to say this.  I am looking forward to seeing you all October next year, at the 30th Anniversary reception.

Thank you.

After the speech the guests had a look at the stands of the Korean companies, got engaged in lively conversations and had the opportunity to enjoy the world-famous Korean cuisine.

The photos were provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to Bulgaria, welcomes his guests