Finnish ambassador to bid goodbye to KoreaThe Finnish ambassador to Korea, Lauri Korpinen, will be leaving his mission after nearly four years of service on the peninsula.
During his lengthy career as a diplomat, he has served in London, Washington, D.C., Warsaw, Geneva and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His next post will be in Kuala Lumpur, where he will serve as Finnish ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei.
Finland and Korea have shared diplomatic ties since 1973. One of the most prominent examples of the two countries’ economic relations is the successful operation of Nokia, the Finnish communications technology giant, in South Korea.
Finland and Korea, both recognized as strongly competitive IT powers, were designated as co-facilitators in the field of e-commerce in the Asia Europe Meeting summit framework in Copenhagen in October 2002. Nokia has recorded total exports worth $2.7 billion, and in Korea it has ranked first among foreign companies investing in Korea in terms of sales.
But according to Mr. Korpinen, the bonds between Finland and Korea are “much wider” than the IT industry.
Economically, he said he has seen an increase in Finnish companies investing in Korea.
“Twenty five are represented [in Korea] and another 200 have trade connections,” he said.
During Mr. Korpinen’s tenure, Korea welcomed Finnish President Tarja Halonen for the first time in 2000 and again in 2002.
The two countries also share student and cultural exchanges, such as the architectural exhibition of photographs by Jussi Tiainen and a lecture by leading Finnish architect Pentti Kareoja at the Gana Art Gallery last fall. This summer, says Mr. Korpinen, an exhibition of Korean hanji, or paper, will take place in Finland.
Looking toward the future of Korean-Finnish diplomatic relations, Mr. Korpinen said, “I think that we have to do a lot in trade and economic cooperation.”
Mr. Korpinen, who has a keen interest in Korean culture, said he will miss traveling in the Korean countryside with his wife. “It’s a beautiful country,” he said. “I’ll miss the mountains and forests.”
Mr. Kim Luodones, the current Finnish ambassador to Singapore, will succeed Mr. Korpinen in Korea.
by Kirsten Jerch