- Written address by the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Mr. Peteris Vaivars on the occasion of the National Day of Latvia (18 November)
It is my great honor to address the people of Korea on the occasion of the 99th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia. On behalf of the President of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vejonis, I would like to express our deepest respect and true friendship to the people of Korea.
It is with the great pleasure to note that our bilateral ties increase with every year and our two nations become closer to each other. Common values of democracy, protection of human rights, shared understanding of rule-based international system and peace lay a strong foundation for mutual understanding and development of bilateral relations between our countries. As a highlight, I am glad to note that this year Honorable Mr. SHIM, Jae-kwon, Chairman of Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea paid an official visit to Latvia and had many valuable meetings with Latvian top officials. Exchanges on the top level facilitate mutual dialogue, people-to-people contacts, business connections and cooperation in other fields.
Furthermore, I would like to underline good increase of Korean business presence in Latvia and growing number of Latvian exports to Korea which increased by 15% and reached 50 million EUR in 2016 and shows rapid growth this year as well. Latvia is happy to welcome more Korean tourists which number is growing by 10-15% annually. In order to help discover our country, Latvian government has arranged First Official major Korean media representatives’ visit to Latvia and shooting of KBS popular travel documentary in Latvia this year in October. The program is about to be aired on KBS1 soon. The exact schedule will be announced on the Embassy’s official communication channels on FB and Twitter pages.
This year was significant for the Embassy to acquire its new, permanent premises in Hannam-dong area to make a strong presence in Korea and to be able to increase its level of activities. We thank all our friends and partners for helping the Embassy to find and move to its new home.
Since the establishment of the Latvian Embassy in Seoul, we have been blessed with the friendship of our Korean partners and are happy to increase our networks. Latvian dance and choir groups actively participate in International Festivals hosted by different cities and regions in Korea. World famous Latvia-born musicians like Mischa Maisky, Gidon Kremer and others are already very well known in Korea. This year in particular we are observing an increase of the number of Latvian athletes coming to Korea in relation to 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. We are glad that also many Koreans are interested in Latvian sports and that we can share our knowledge and expertise. I am sure that next year’s Olympic Games in Korea will turn to be one of the greatest sports events in the world.
In 2018, when Korea will be hosting Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Latvia will celebrate its 100th Anniversary. We will kick-off the celebration by the first ever visit of the President of the Republic of Latvia to beautiful country Korea in February 2018. Many other events like concerts, movie screenings, book publishing and others will follow. Please stay tuned to Latvian channels not to miss any of the important events. Let’s make year 2018 The Year of Latvia in Korea!
In conclusion, I would like to wish everyone to have a quiet Christmas together with families, friends and loved ones along with my best wishes for a prosperity and happiness to the people of Korea and to all Latvians living in Korea.
And just to remind, since everyone know that Santa Claus is coming from our neighbouring country Finland, the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree comes from another very friendly and welcoming country of Northern Europe – Latvia!
Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia