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Message from H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Bulgaria, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries

March 23, 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Korea. In celebration of the 30th anniversary, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and President Rumen Radev of the Republic of Bulgaria exchanged letters of congratulations and promised to strengthen the partnership between the two countries.

Korea, a country with a population of 51 million, the 7th largest trade volume and the 11th largest economy in the world, boasts its exemplary open market economy and has been expanding substantial partnership with Bulgaria, a leading EU member state of the Western Balkan region.

Korea has the world's No. 1 technology and production capacity in high-tech items including semiconductors, smartphones, shipbuilding, and displays. Its major industries include steel, automobiles, oil refineries, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical equipment, software, and computer games. In addition, it is recognized for its diversity and creativity in cultural spheres including pop music (so-called K-pop), movies, food, as well as in sports such as Taekwondo, which has been an Olympic sport for 20 years, short-track speed skating, figure skating and table tennis.

Prime Minister Borissov's visit to Korea in September last year was an important opportunity for the two countries to reach agreement on how to build a "comprehensive future-oriented partnership" in practical terms. President Moon and Prime Minister Borissov discussed ways to cooperate in areas that would contribute to the mutual development of the two countries, such as investment, energy, defense, and education. They discussed how to effectively combine Korea's industrial capability and the strategic advantages of Bulgaria as a connecting hub between Western Balkans and the EU countries.

Now it is time for strategic planning and concrete action. Both governments will examine from a practical point of view the mutual complementarity and synergy of the future cooperation. Creative collaboration among the citizens and companies of both countries will be promoted. IT, nuclear and renewable energy, agriculture, transportation and logistics are of the areas with great potential for cooperation between the two countries.

For the last 30 years, trade and cooperation between the two countries has significantly increased and strengthened. Given the growth potential and the global status of the two countries, however, we still have a long way to go. What we need to do from now on is to make the companies and the peoples of both countries realize the power and potential of Bulgaria and Korea. Then the actual expansion of trade&investment, technical cooperation, people to people exchange between the two countries will follow. Both governments must support the momentum through establishment of legal and institutional foundation and strengthening of high-level dialogues.

Though a variety of colorful events planned for the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and Bulgaria are temporarily postponed due to the COVID-19, the two countries will proudly overcome this difficult time and we will soon be able to celebrate our 30 years of friendship with a number of meaningful events and valuable activities. 

The material has been kindly provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

Photo above: H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in the Republic of Bulgaria

Photos below: Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Nak-yeon, Seoul, September 2019; H. E. Mr. Jeong Junkyu, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Bulgaria, awards the winners of the Logo Competition on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Korea at the Hilton Hotel, Sofia, on December 20, 2019; Korean youth during the Korean Culture Days in Sofia, June 2019