RIYADH: Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Jeddah Lee Sang-kyoun stressed the importance of the relationship between South Korea and Saudi Arabia as he welcomed guests to a special celebration of Korea’s 4,351st National Foundation Day.
The event, on Oct. 15 in the Park Hyatt Lazard’s ballroom, marks the legendary formation of the first Korean state of Gojoseon in 2333 B.C.
The diplomat and his family warmly welcomed the guests, including Ambassador Jamal Balkhayour, the director general of the Makkah region branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as they arrived at the venue, which was lavishly decorated with flowers and the Korean flag.
In his opening speech, Lee said: “Korea and Saudi Arabia have shared strong companionship as ‘Rafiq,’ (friends) since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962.”
He also emphasized the common values shared by the two countries, and their indispensable partnership and cooperation in a number of sectors, beginning with construction and energy in the early 1970s and developing through the years to now include the likes of renewable and nuclear energy, culture and more.
“Notably, the two countries launched a ministerial-level committee, Saudi-Korea Vision 2030, to bolster bilateral cooperation, focusing on supporting business ventures between the two countries,” Lee added.
He said he hopes to see an expansion of cultural and artistic ties between the nations, while also strengthening “person-to-person” contact between young people and future generations.
“Such cultural and human exchange will be a meaningful step toward fostering the values shared by the two countries — working in collaboration for future success and common goals,” he said.
The consul general explained that strengthening such human bonds will encourage an understanding between people of a kind that can only happen through art, history, academia and scientific exchange, which is why the consulate is establishing a cultural center as a “signature window for cultural exchange.”
The consulate will also set up a foundation for students to “foster the common grounds in their interests and hopes” through an exchange program for Korean and Saudi youths.
Lee added that 2018 has been an important year for South Korea, with the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in PyeongChang, the Inter-Korean Summit, and the Singapore Summit between North Korea and the US.
As the celebration continued, Korean residents were brimming with pride and excitement as they celebrated their National Foundation Day in the Kingdom, while meeting and mingling with friends from Saudi Arabia and other nations.