Welcoming Remarks by Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Ukraine National Foundation Day Reception

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Your excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank you all for joining us at our Reception to celebrate National Foundation Day of the Republic of Korea. Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Ukraine in 1992, our bilateral relations have been continuously developing in many areas.

High-level officials from both countries are visiting each other. Economic and trade relationship between the two countries has been expanding. Ukrainian people are getting more interested in Korean culture such as Korean language, K-pop, and Taekwondo.

In 20th century both Ukraine and Korea faced serious challenges but successfully overcame them. Both countries now occupy a firm status on a global stage. The Republic of Korea achieved an economic miracle, emerging from the ashes of the Korean War in early 1950’s. Despite Holodomor in 1930’s and Chernobyl tragedy in 1986, Ukraine emerged ever stronger after the revolution of Dignity in 2014.

I am sure that many of you have heard about the famous American songwriter Bob Dylan, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature 3 year ago. In one of his famous songs, ‘Blowing in the Wind’, Bob Dylan raises important questions.

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How many years can a mountain exist before it’s washed to the sea?

How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?

Anybody knows the answers to these questions? Maybe not.

But I know that it took a long time before establishing diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Korea in 1992. I know that it took us 27 years before holding today’s reception with all of our distinguished guests.

And I also know that it won’t be long before the relations between our two countries grow ever closer.

In the same song, Bob Dylan also asks.

How many times the cannon balls must fly before they’re forever banned?

How many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died?

Bob Dylan says that only the wind knows answers to these questions.

The mankind has been searching the answers to these questions for thousands of years. They are questions about war and peace. Dylan suggests that only the wind knows the solution to eliminating wars and establishing peace. But we diplomats respect pragmatism. We do know that diplomacy can make the cannonballs silent in the Eastern provinces of Ukraine. We also know that diplomacy can make Minsk Agreement alive and thus bring the suffering regions to stability and prosperity.

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Bob Dylan also throws at us some very humanistic questions.

How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?

How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesnt see?

Bob Dylan asserts that the answers to these questions are also blowing in the wind. And only the wind knows the answers to these questions.

But we all know that in order to wipe tears from the eyes of its people, a country has to build a “rich and strong nation.”

Nehru, the former Prime Minister of India, once said: “The ambition of the greatest men of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye.” In order to build a “rich and strong nation”, political leaders of our time have to eradicate corruption, develop its industries and create investment-friendly climate through domestic reforms, while holding steadfast to values such as democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law. I am convinced that is what His Excellency President Zelensky is trying to achieve and we support his initiative.

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On this special occasion I would like to take a moment to sing Bob Dylan’s song “Blowing in the Wind” with my Embassy colleagues, in earnest hope for the everlasting development of bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and Ukraine, peace in the whole Ukraine and the happiness of Ukrainian people.

For this evening our Embassy invited Ukraine’s best K-pop cover dance group. They will perform after our song. So please enjoy the performance and rest of the evening.

Thank you very much.