Book commemorates 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea, Spain
Spain and Korea celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations with the publication of a book in which leaders of the two nations count the special milestones in diplomatic ties and describe their hopes for the relations in the years to come.
“Over the past decades both countries have made huge political, economic and social progress,” said Spanish Ambassador to Korea Juan Ignacio Morro Villacian at an event organized by the embassy to present the book to the public in Korea on Oct. 28 at the Four Seasons Seoul. “We are now full-fledged democracies abiding by the principles of the rule of law and market economy. We are very active countries at the world stage and full supporters of international law and the international order, based on the principles of peace and security, cooperation and respect for human rights.”
The book was published in both Spanish and Korean this year by the Spanish Embassy in Korea and the Korean Embassy in Spain, in cooperation with the Spanish Centre for Korean Research and with support from the Korea Foundation.
Leaders of both nations, including former Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon and former Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, along with Ambassador Morro and Korean Ambassador to Spain Chun Hong-jo, contributed to the book.
Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation González Laya offered congratulations on the publication of the book via video messages presented at the event on Wednesday.
Spain and Korea signed their bilateral ties on March 17, 1950. Circumstances at home engrossed much of their attention in the early decades of their relations — of which the Korean War (1950-1953), the transition from dictatorships to democracy in the 1970s and ‘80s and economic recessions were but a few.
More recently, Korea signed an FTA with the European Union in 2010, and since then, its trade with Spain has expanded, hitting 5.3 billion euros ($6.2 billion) last year.
The number of Korean tourists to Spain has grown exponentially in the past decade, reaching 630,000 in 2019, according to the Spanish Embassy in Seoul.
It was also last year that Korea welcomed a royal visit by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia.
“Our bilateral relations were upgraded to a strategic level in 2017,” said Ambassador Morro. “They are mature and growing, but we cannot be satisfied and need to be more ambitious for the future. We want now to make a turning point in our relations by taking advantage of the momentum opened by the State Visit that Their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain paid to Korea now a year ago, together with the celebration this year — despite the pandemic — of this 70th anniversary, and the ambitious plans we have for 2021, Covid permitting.”
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]