ROK - A groundbreaking moment
Pictured (l-r) Mr. Myungsoo Park, Branch Manager in SA of Yoosun Construction; Mr. Dojae Im, Chariman of Glotec Engineering; Mrs. Sung-ok Lee, Vice-Chair of the South African Korean Association; Ms Nina Human, Director, Japan and Koreas and Central Asia, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO); Mr. Lassy Chiwayo, Chief Director Central East Asia, DIRCO; Mr. Jaegil Hwang, Chairman of the National Unification Advisory Council; Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General of DIRCO, Ambassador Yoon Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, Mr. Kyungsoo Lee, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs of the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Councillor Joshua Ngoyama, MMC for Housing and Sustainable Human Settlement Development, Ms. Sally Ramokgopa, Acting Chief of State Protocol, DIRCO; Ambassador Dennis of South Africa in South Korea; Ms. Lyn de Jong, Director, Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges, DIRCO and Mr. Joongseok Park, President of Korean Business Association in SA
The Embassy of the Republic of Korea held a groundbreaking ceremony on 12 August 2013 for the Korean Embassy's new chancery in Pretoria. In his congratulatory remarks H.E. Deputy Minister Lee Kyung-Soo of the Republic of Korea said that the construction of a Korean Embassy building in South Africa is long overdue, considering the two countries'political and economic relations. He said, "Since President Park Geun-hye took office in February this year, her new administration has been reviewing its foreign policy on Africa in order to enhance and upgrade political, economic, developmental and institutional co-operation with the continent. The Presidents of Uganda and Mozambique were the first heads of state to pay an official visit to Korea since President Park took office. These visits symbolize my government’s renewed commitments to enhance its relationship with African countries.
"The policy change is in line with the growing importance of Africa in the global arena thanks to its relatively stable political situation and plentiful resources. It is frequently mentioned that Africa will become a new growth engine for the world economy. Korea currently has 17 embassies in Africa with a recent addition in Mozambique. The Korean government is considering opening more embassies in other African countries within the near future in order to expand its institutional base on the continent.
"I am told that, after Washington D.C, Pretoria has the second highest number of resident diplomatic missions in the world. This clearly shows South Africa’s global importance. My government regards South Africa as a strategic partner and both our countries, as middle powers, share common universal values such as democracy and human rights. South Africa is Korea’s largest trade partner in Africa and has the largest number of resident Koreans, about 5000, in the region. South Africa functions as the hub and platform for Korean companies to expand into the rest of Africa."
Deputy Minister Lee Kyung-Soo earlier in the day met with H.E. Mr. Ebrahim Ebrahim, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for the 7th Policy Consultative Forum, which, according to both ministers was a success. Deputy Minister Lee Kyung-Soo thanked Ambassador Sooklal and the other members of the Political Consultative Forum(PCF) for the successful conclusion of the PCF and he also thanked them for attending the groundbreaking ceremony.
Addressing guests at the ceremony Ambassador Sooklal said that this was a groundbreaking moment for relations between the Republic of Korea and South Africa.
Construction is already underway and it is estimated that the chancery will be completed by the middle of 2015.