Slovakia in briefSlovakia in brief
Major cities: Kosice, Presov, Zilina, Banska Bystrica
Official language: Slovak
Population: About 5.5 million
Religion: Mostly Roman Catholic
Area: 18,932 square miles
Number of Korean expats: Over 2,000
Two decades of relations
Slovakia and Korea established diplomatic ties on Jan. 1, 1993, the very day Slovakia gained independence after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
In 2014, the total volume of exports from Slovakia to Korea was 109 million euros ($120 million). In the first 10 months of 2015, the volume reached 91 million euros. Imports from Korea in 2014 totaled about 4.4 billion euros, while the first 10 months in 2015 recorded imports of approximately 3.5 billion euros.
The top commodities exported to Korea were auto parts and accessories, machinery and electrical equipment. From Korea to Slovakia, the most popular products were optical, photographic, measuring and medical equipment, as well as electrical machinery and equipment, televisions, audio recorders and cars.
Around 100 Korean companies, including Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics, have invested a total of 2.5 billion euros into the Slovak market so far. These investments are focused mainly on the automotive and electronic industries. To attract Slovak investments in Korea, the embassy is helping Slovak companies explore various market opportunities here.
Slovak Ambassador Milan Lajciak
Born in 1958, Lajciak graduated from the University of Economics in Bratislava and went on to study at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Before assuming his office in Korea in August 2014, Lajciak served as the Slovak ambassador in Indonesia (1999-2003) and Malaysia (2005-12), and worked as director of the presidential office’s foreign policy department (2003-04) and director of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs’ Asia-Pacific department (2013-14). In 2014, Lajciak was a member of the Scientific Committee of the World Political Forum. Lajciak can speak English, Russian, Slovak and Chinese.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in Russian/Serbo-Croatian translation and interpretation from Comenius University in Slovakia, Lajciakova worked as an editor for a publishing house from 1983 to 1991. Since 1986, she has been stationed in a variety of Slovak embassies overseas, primarily serving in the consular office. While in her home country, she also worked from time to time at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ human resources department.
She and her husband have a son and a daughter. Their son is currently a diplomat in the Slovak Mission to the European Union in Brussels. Their daughter works for AT&T, an American multinational telecommunications corporation, in Bratislava. Other than Slovak, Lajciakova can speak varying levels of English, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, German, Spanish and Indonesian.
BY LEE SUNG-EUN