Congratulatory remarks by Deputy Minister Dr Joe Phaahla at the National Day of the Republic of Korea Reception
Your Excellency, Ambassador Yoon LEE, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in South Africa
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
Congratulations and fraternal greetings from the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea on this important occasion as you celebrate the National Day of the Republic of Korea. Indeed on this day we share your joy in marking the birth of your nation state.
I would like to thank His Excellency the Ambassador and his wife for extending this invitation to us.
I also wish to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Korea on the outcome of the elections of 19 December 2012, which witnessed Ms Guen-hye Park elected as the country’s first woman president.
The Government of South Africa looks forward to working with President Park and her Administration in furthering not only the bilateral relationship, but also in the fostering of south-south relations and cooperation in the global arena.
South Africa and Korea enjoy warm and friendly relations. After having established diplomatic ties twenty one years ago, our relationship has grown in leaps and bounds.
We now enjoy a multi-faceted relationship with cooperation in many fields and rapid growth in links established between the people of our two countries. In this regard, we are pleased about the growth spurt in tourism between our two countries. For us this is also evident of interest in our heritage, arts and culture.
There has been healthy business co-operation in trade, industry and investment over the years. We welcome that there have been discussions on co-operation in industrial policy and technological growth as well as rural development.
It is only through common understanding and the sharing of knowledge and culture that friendships are forged and our people are brought closer together. We were fortunate last year to experience the wonderful performance of “Swan Lake” featuring the Universal Ballet of Korea. This was a truly remarkable experience in which we were dazzled by the technical prowess of the Korean ballet dancers.
This year’s National Day also marks the advent of the 21st anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Republic of Korea, dating back to 1st December 1992, indicating our commitment to strengthen social, political and economic relations between our two countries.
Let us continue along this journey of increasing and further diversifying our trade relations. Let us continue to position culture at the centre of our relationship.
In this year as the African continent we commemorated the fiftieth anniversation of the formation of the OAU (Organisation of African Unity) and now the African Union. We commend our Korean colleagues for taking the relationship with the African continent to heart and in intensifying trade and co-operation with the African continent. This will help us to realize our goals of an African renaissance and promote Africa-Asia co-operation.
We look forward next year to the twentieth anniversary of freedom and democracy in South Africa in April 2014 and we invite you to share this important milestone in our history with us.
We are particularly grateful that the Republic of Korea is building the Chancery which is the sign of confidence that is pleasing to South Africa. Our relationship is indeed an important pillar of our global foreign engagement. We are pleased that you will be building a cultural centre in next year.
Let us enjoy this important day and let us continue to work together so that our relations continue to grow from strength to strength.
I thank you.