Written address by the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Mr. Peteris Vaivars
on the occasion of the National Day of Latvia (18 November)
It is my great honor to address the people of Korea on the occasion of the 98th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia and the 25th Anniversary of Latvia – Korea diplomatic ties. On behalf of the President of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vejonis, I would like to express our deepest respect and friendship to the people of Korea.
Latvia and Korea are like-minded partners, sharing strong diplomatic ties based on common values for democracy and rule-based international system. Latvia highly values the support of Korea to facilitate peace and stability in the world. The mutual understanding and our partnership were strongly emphasised and reaffirmed during the recent official visit to Korea by the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament, Mr. Ojars Eriks Kalnins in October.
We have been blessed with the friendship and eagerness of our Korean partners to fortify close ties between our two countries. Particularly I would like to mention active cooperation between our business societies and culture exchanges. Through a variety of projects in the areas of business, music, art and design, the people-to-people contacts between our two countries have continued to grow, the number of Korean travelers visiting Latvia has increased significantly. New destination for Korean visitors is being discovered.
Latvia is one of the greenest countries of the world, geographically located in the Northern Europe in a favourable location at the crossroads of historical trading routes connecting Scandinavia, Western Europe and our Eastern neighbours. The location also contributed to the creation of a multicultural environment suited to people of various nationalities living together and for centuries being a source of inspiration for a range of famous European artists, dancers, singers and composers. Latvia is also one of the closest European countries to Korea geographically, and both our nations share similar values and affinities – we love and respect nature, we are hardworking, and we cherish our culture and traditions. This year our country was selected as one of the TOP 10 destinations recommended by the best-selling travel guide, LONELY PLANET.
The capital city, Riga, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, taking into account that it has one of the largest collections of fine Art Nouveau architecture in the world. Riga has long been a venue for cultural events on an international scale and during 2014, as European Capital of Culture, hundreds of special events took place, offering guests of the city a unique opportunity to sample the riches of Latvian culture and performing arts – and to enjoy world class performances of Latvian choirs, magnificent opera staging, and art exhibitions.
In 2015, Latvia was internationally spotlighted because of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union; this was the first time that Latvia assumed this role since becoming a member of the EU in 2004. It was a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity to prove the leadership skills that small country can demonstrate on the global stage. This year Latvia completed its accession to the OECD, becoming its 35th member and creating one more platform for dialogue with Korea.
The relations between Latvia and Korea have developed in a steady manner based on mutual understanding for the last 25 years. We were glad for Korea’s decision to establish the only Korean Embassy in the Baltic States in Latvian capital Riga in 2013. In turn, the Latvian government established an Embassy in Seoul in 2015. I am particularly honoured to be the first residing Latvian Ambassador to the Republic of Korea; I began my work this year in January.
Since the establishment of the Latvian Embassy in Seoul, we have been blessed with the friendship and eagerness of our Korean partners to work together towards even closer cooperation between our two countries. Regular visits by officials and an increase in business exchanges, the number of tourists and grass-root level contacts between our two countries continue to grow. We welcome our Korean partners, friends and those interested, to be even more active in your contacts and work with Latvia. It is not enough to rely on my word or the words of others; come to visit and discover the beautiful sites and vibrant life of this special Baltic nation on your own.
In 2018, when Korea will be hosting Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Latvia will celebrate its 100th Anniversary since its foundation in 1918. The Embassy is working with its Korean partners and friends to offer tailor-made opportunities for Korean people to discover Latvia. The year 2018 will be a very special in the Latvian history and I believe we can make it together also a special Latvian year here in Korea. As you cheer on athletes from Korea to success, I also invite you to cheer together for all Olympic athletes, particularly in Bobsleigh and Skeleton events, where Latvians and Koreans athletes have shown that they are world leaders.
In conclusion, as we are approaching the end of this rather turbulent year and we are hoping for a quiet Christmas together and united with our families, let me also express my best wishes for a prosperity and happiness to the people of Korea and to all Latvians living in Korea noting that the first written evidence of the tradition of decorating the Christmas tree comes from a distant, but very nice and friendly Northern European country – Latvia!
Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia
Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in the Republic of Korea
Address: 29, Hannam-daero 36-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 04417, Republic of Korea
Telephone: (02) 2-2022-3800
Fax: (02) 2-2022-3803