“First of all, I would like to use this opportunity to address to the Korean Government and Korean People my sincerest congratulations for the anniversary of the National Day. Romania and the Republic of Korea share a lot of historical background that is quite remarkable.
Both countries became what they are today fighting for national identity in a geographical space dominated by powerful neighbours. More than that, at a certain point in their history, on each of their territories three feudal states emerged, which eventually united under a single ruler to form one strong nation. Unfortunately, following later events dictated by foreign interests and beyond the control of national authorities, their peoples were a a certain moment separated by borders that have nothing to do with the wish of their citizens.
Sharing these common features gives Romanians a unique understanding of Korea, deeper than other people’s.
Republic of Korea did not exist for us before 1989, as the Ceausescu regime was rather close to the leadership of the DPRK. In the years that followed the comeback of Romania to the democratic world, we worked very hard to correct this historical neglect.
Political dialogue started and continued swiftly and was soon completed by fast growing trade and investment flows.
The keen interest shown by both sides is proven by the fact that the Republic of Korea is today one of the four Asian nations with which Romania has established a strategic partnership (since 2008).
There are several success stories, with Daewoo Mangalia Heavy Industries, Samsung Otelinox and Doosan IMGB already in place and other projects under way, creating thousands of jobs for Romanians.
We identified several fields of common interest, like IT, agriculture and exchange of cultural values, which could contribute to developing our fast growing bilateral relationship.
Within the past years, the Romanian IT market has been characterized by high growth rate, high investments, lower prices, and better quality of the services provided, which led to a very dynamic trend in this field. Our institutions of higher education are proficient in training high caliber graduates in software development and telecommunications, and their skills are highly appreciated by Korean companies. IT&C is one of the cutting-edge fields for increasing the value of the Romanian-Korean economic relationship and Korean participation in this domain of tradition in Romania could bring added value to the existing capacity, so as to improve the competitiveness of possible joint products on third markets.
There is also room for expansion, especially in developing the sectors that require technological expertise. Our goal is to attract greenfield investment in productive sectors, so as to foster partnerships between the Korean investors with tradition in electronics, semiconductors or automotive industry, and the local institutions of higher education and research. This would certainly prove beneficial for both sides, both in the high return of the investment and in product research and development.
As for the cultural exchanges, it is no secret that Korean movies, especially with historical subjects, are highly appreciated by the Romanian public.
Foreign Minister Corlatean was very impressed during his visit to Seoul, in 2013, by Korean students learning Romanian in Hankook University and I have received reports about several students bodies in Bucharest, Iasi and Cluj that are involved in studying Korean language and culture.
This makes me strongly believe that geographical distance between Romania and Republic of Korea is a minor argument compared to the interest manifested by young people in both countries in each others culture. I hope that increased people-to-people exchanges will give the impetus needed to further substantiate the strategic partnership.
I would like to convey again to the Korean Government and people, on behalf of the Romanian people and on my own, my message of peace and friendship. “