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National Day Message by H. E. Mr. Jeong Jinkyu, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Bulgaria

Dear Excellencies, Dear Bulgarian citizens, diplomatic community in Sofia, Fellow Koreans in Bulgaria, ladies and gentlemen,

The 3rd of October 2020 marks the 4,352nd anniversary of the founding of the country by the national father of Korea. Based on the philosophy of "Hongik Ingan" in Korean which means to live and to work for the benefit of all mankind, the Republic of Korea has overcome a great number of challenges and hardships with an indomitable will and determination, and has become the world’s 11th largest economy as well as one of the most advanced democratic countries in the world.

On the opportunity of celebrating the National Day, I would like to emphasize that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Bulgaria. Over the years, the two countries have developed to be the important key partners in the field of economy, trade and investment, and have been continuing to establish a solid cooperation and trust in various fields. On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary, the President H. E. Moon Jae-in and the President of Bulgaria, H. E. Rumen Radev exchanged congratulatory messages and also agreed to further develop our two nations’ friendship.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1990, the bilateral cooperation has been further developed in many fields such as trade, energy, Korean language, Bulgarian culture, Taekwondo, K-Pop, K-Food, automobile industry, agriculture industry, just to name a few. The bilateral relations between Korea and Bulgaria continue to develop further through active high-level exchanges and consultations. In particular, in September, last year, Prime Minister H. E. Boyko Borissov visited Korea and held a Summit Meeting with H. E. President Moon Jae-in and at the same visit, held a Prime Ministers’ Meeting with Korean Prime Minister H. E. Lee Nak-yeon for enhancing our bilateral ties. In addition to that, in order to address the crisis raised by the COVID-19 Pandemic, in a summit call in March this year, the President of Korea and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria discussed ways of bilateral cooperation in response to COVID-19 and made an agreement in trade of COVID-19 diagnostic kits and relevant hygiene and pharmaceutical areas.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Taking this opportunity let me briefly overview the cooperation in the area of culture and public diplomacy, as key areas of our relationship.

Thanks to the growing interest in the Korean language of the Bulgarian people, some 800 students at 12 schools, including universities, are currently studying Korean language. Sofia University for example, has been developing Korean studies department at the forefront not only in Bulgaria, but in all Eastern Europe with undergraduate, masters’ and doctoral programs. I am sincerely looking forward to further development of Sofia University Korean studies department based on existing achievements. In support to this, the Korean ministries and Embassy will also provide more Bulgarian students with opportunities to study in Korea through expansion of the invitational scholarship programs for the selected students and scholars who wish to study in the higher education institutes in Korea.

In the field of Taekwondo, which has gained great popularity in Bulgaria as well as all around the world, many developments are being made. In particular, when Prime Minister Borissov visited Korea last year, he visited Kukkiwon, the center of Taekwondo, and was awarded an honorary 9th Dan, which is highest level certificate. We will put a focus on the friendship expressed by the Prime Minister for further cooperation in Taekwondo as well as in sports.

As I have reiterated, this year is the year of the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic ties. To commemorate this meaningful occasion in the second half of the year we will host several events such as Korean food program in cooperation with BNT, the Bulgarian National television; K-pop contest, which is popular among Bulgarian young generation; Taekwondo Poomsae lectures and Teakwondo on-line contests; Korean movie night; Korean-Cyrillic language exhibition, which shows excellence in both countries' alphabet and so on. Again, to the events that we are now in preparation, I would like to kindly request your interest and active participation. I am confident that the spread of Korean culture in Bulgaria will serve as a stepping stone to further enhance bilateral ties.

I avail of this opportunity to thank our fellow Korean residents in Bulgaria for the participation in the election of National Assembly in last April and for their support in strengthening the friendship between Korea and Bulgaria. On our national day, I wish you good health and prosperity and your support!

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to sincerely appreciate all of you for attending the Korean National Day event online, and wish you all enjoy Korean Music and Taekwondo performances, part of our special celebration.

Thank you!

The special short film in celebration of the National Foundation Day 2020, which includes video messages from Bulgarian officials and friends of the Korean Embassy, a Taekwondo demonstration by Bulgaria’s national Taekwondo demonstration team, as well as a traditional Korean percussions Samulnori performance by the Soyoung Samulnori ensemble, can be viewed online at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea’s official YouTube channel or at the Embassy’s Facebook page.