On November 16 2018, the Latvian Embassy in the Republic of Korea hosted a reception for the centenary of the Latvian State, which was honoured by the presence of more than 500 friends and cooperation partners to Latvia. The reception was by far the most ambitious event organized by the Embassy in the Republic of Korea, and was highly appreciated by the cooperation partners and guests. The event was opened by the outstanding Emīls Dārziņš mixed choir with the song Rīga dimd, followed by the national anthems of both countries, official speeches and toasts.
The Ambassador Pēteris Vaivars addressed the speakers presenting the importance of Latvia’s statehood and the achievements made by the country, and thanked the participants for the three years of dynamic cooperation since the Latvian Embassy was opened in Seoul. “This centenary year has been a special year for the President of Latvia to visit the Republic of Korea, including attendance of the most important event in Korea this year – the Winter Olympics. Three ministerial visits to Korea, as well as thriving economic, cultural and educational ties have brought the two countries closer together as major business partners and friends. We want to become even closer partners and to further cooperate with Korea,” noted Pēteris Vaivars. The Ambassador added that he expected reciprocal visits from the Korean side.
Gunn Kim, the Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and Advisor to the Minister, in his address as an honorary guest, congratulated the people of Latvia on behalf of the Korean Government on the 100th anniversary of Latvian statehood, emphasizing the cultural heritage of the Latvian people and their fight for independence, which is a unifying element for both nations. Gunn Kim referred to a popular Korean song, Million Roses, which is a modified version of Latvian composer Raimonds Pauls’ piece Dāvāja Māriņa, as well as the Singing Revolution, a movement well known in Korea. The Advisor expressed his conviction that the Latvian-Korean Air Traffic Agreement signed this year would promote exchanges and closer bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
A friend of Latvia, a Member of the Korean Parliament and Deputy Chief of the Korean-Latvian Parliamentary Cooperation Group, SHIM Ki-joon, emphasized the significance of Latvia’s Centenary and called for the strengthening of parliamentary co-operation between the two countries. SHIM Ki-joon expressed his desire to visit Latvia in the near future and to meet personally with his Latvian colleagues, when the Latvian-Korean parliamentary cooperation group would be established. For his part, the Honorary Consulate’s representative KIM Dong-joon, acting on behalf of the Honorary Consul General during the latter’s visit to Latvia, congratulated the State of Latvia on its Centenary and confirmed the commitment of the Honorary Consulate to further support Latvian activities in Korea.
The event was concluded with the joint performance of the Korean traditional song Arirang and the Latvian folk song Bēdu manu lielu bēdu by the Emīls Dārziņš mixed choir and the Seoul-based international choir CAMARATA. The festive event was attended by the representatives of the government, society, business, culture, press, as well as diplomatic circles of the Republic of Korea and the Latvian and Baltic diaspora living in Korea. At the table laid with Latvian food, guests could enjoy Latvian brown bread, cheese, sausages, sprats, chocolate sweets, biscuits, as well as special dishes prepared for this festive event – grey peas, meatball soup, potatoes with dill, herring, cottage cheese and other foods. At the beverage table, guests could taste traditional drinks such as Riga Black Balsam, Riga champagne, beer and cider.
The Embassy expresses its gratitude to the Latvian companies “BANGA” (sprats), “KROŅSTRAUTS” (Sabile cider), “ALDARIS” (beer), “CIDO GRUPA” (beer) for delivery of their products for the reception in Seoul, as well as to the companies "LATVIJAS FINIERIS", “CURO GROUP”, “Q CAPITAL PARTNERS”, “GNCO” and “KOREA CULTURE ASSOCIATION” for their support in hosting the reception. The Latvian Embassy started its operations in Seoul on 15 September 2015. Latvia's first resident Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Pēteris Vaivars, was accredited on 15 January 2016. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1991.