Congratulatory Message by Santhush Woonjin JEONG on the occasion of the Independence Day.
Ayubowan, Vanakkam, Annyonghasimnikka (Korean Greeting)
I am the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka, Santhush Woonjin JEONG.
Congratulations on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day! As Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Sri Lanka, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations on the 73 years of independence and to convey the best wishes for the welfare and everlasting prosperity to the people of Sri Lanka. I hope that the relations of friendship and cooperation between our two countries, which have strengthened year after year, continue to be strengthened to provide greater happiness to the people of both nations. The Republic of Korea celebrates together with you!
Sri Lanka commemorates the country’s peaceful path to independence 73 years ago. While Korea and Sri Lanka had to overcome many hardships in the past, both countries have bounced back with vigour. Our two nations and people are examples of the resilience, steadfastness and hope even in the most difficult circumstances. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations in 1977, Korea and Sri Lanka have come a long way together to form a cordial bilateral partnership. Korea and Sri Lanka have been truly good friends to each other on a whole range of issues, sharing common goals. It is my firm belief the common historical experiences shared by the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka have further brought our nations together. Korea-Sri Lanka relations have made great strides in recent years and have become multidimensional, spurred by a significant convergence of interests, mutual goodwill and high level exchanges.
Today, Sri Lanka has the potential to become the next economic powerhouse in Asia. The strategic location, rich natural and human resources of Sri Lanka are complimentary with the state of the art technology and capital available in Korea. This combination creates the perfect synergies for our two countries to further the potential for businesses. Korea’s economic miracle, so called ‘The Miracle on Han River’ is a story of overcoming many hardships by the Korean people that led to the national development from poverty to prosperity. I believe that Sri Lanka will also be developed to “the Miracle on Kelani River” in the near future. Korea is the very country that can help Sri Lanka achieve its goal. Our relations have widened on multiple spheres in which development cooperation is of utmost importance. Sri Lanka is one of Korea’s principle ODA cooperation partners. The Sri Lanka office of KOICA has continued to assist and fund commercial and infrastructure projects of Sri Lanka, thus augmenting the development of Sri Lanka. Korea has been promoting projects in the various fields such as education, transportation, water resources, sanitation and regional development in Sri Lanka. As a reliable friend, Korea is a trustworthy partner of Sri Lanka to meet the current needs of national development. With these as a momentum, the bilateral ties are expected to widen and deepen further in coming years.
The engagement in labour cooperation has also been commendable in recent years. 23,000 Sri Lankan employees are presently in Korea. Around 520 million US dollars were transmitted by them from Korea to Sri Lanka in 2019. They greatly contribute to the economic advancement of both countries. Since COVID-19, the process of departure to Korea for employment has been suspended. However, last September I invited the first batch of Sri Lankan migrant workers who were going to the Republic of Korea post COVID-19 to express my appreciation for their contribution to uplift the economies of both countries.
Furthermore the cultural ties between Korea and Sri Lanka have also deepened in the recent years. The Korea week 2020 organized by the Embassy on virtual platforms provided various cultural events including a Korean language speech competition which was held in December last year, discussions on K-wave, a Taekwondo competition etc. Riding this momentum, the Embassy has organized various cultural events in the recent past and I must say that we are truly gratified and heartened to witness the enthusiastic response of the Sri Lankans, especially the youth, to these events.
Now the world struggles to confront the challenges presented by COVID-19, and I would like to commend our continuing close collaboration to protect our people and defeat this pandemic together. Also we have strengthened the public health cooperation between our countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the “stay strong” campaign, on 08th December 2020, the government of the Republic of Korea donated COVID-19 Diagnostic Kits amounting to the sum of USD 300,000 to contain and control COVID-19. The Korean Embassy donated re-usable fabric masks to Sri Lanka Army, Police who have dedicated themselves to protecting people in Sri Lanka including Korean residents amid COVID-19. These re-usable masks were manufactured by a Sri Lankan social enterprise which empowers women. The Republic of Korea will stand in solidarity with Sri Lanka to successfully combat the battle against COVID-19.
Korea will continue to be with Sri Lanka as friend. While our level of cooperation today is unprecedented, there is always more progress to be made. As the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea like the meaning of my Sri Lankan name “Santhush”, I would really like to carry happiness to Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lanka. I love Sri Lankan people. I will closely work with all of you to achieve our common goals. I wish all our Sri Lankan friends a very happy and memorable Independence Day.!
Let’s stay strong together!