Abida Islam, the Ambassador of Bangladesh to Seoul, invited honorary guests to the 47th Anniversary of the Independence and National Day of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh held on March 26, 2018 at The Millennium Seoul Hilton. Numerous foreign ambassadors and diplomats in Seoul and Seo Jung-in, Director of the Office of Planning & Coordination at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the ceremony on the day to celebrate the occasion. India and Pakistan gained independence from the British rule in August 1947. The British used the age-old religious conflicts for its ‘divide and rule’ strategy which worsened the conflicts and it eventually led to the divisions of the Hindu-centered India and the Islam-centered Pakistan. But Pakistan was yet geographically divided into West Pakistan and East Pakistan with India in the center and naturally the two Pakistan shared nothing much in terms of its races, culture, languages and economy. Eventually, East Pakistan gained independence as today’s Bangladesh in March 26, 1971. At her opening remarks, Ambassador Abida Islam praised Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, and paid a respect to 3 million brave martyrs who died during the independence war and 200,000 women and freedom fighters who suffered or lost their lives. Abida Islam said “Bangladesh is the 32nd largest economy in the world at the moment and is targeting to achieve 23rd by 2050. The GDP growth is more than 6% for the last 10 years with prospective 8% by 2020 and the national per capita income is tripled (USD$1,610 as of 2018). Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of ready-made clothes after China with USD$28 billion in volume and the pharmaceutical products are also being exported to 100 countries in the world alongside leather, frozen fish, bicycle and ceramics.” With regard to relationship with S. Korea, Abida Islam said “S. Korea is an important development partner and the main source of foreign direct investment. The trade between the two countries is increasing through cultural exchanges and K-pop and K-dramas are popular among young Bangladeshis. We are grateful on the fact that more than 200 Korean companies are hiring around 80,000 local labors and the S. Korean government conferred tax exemption and quota system benefits on more than 5,000 products. The Bangladesh government is running 100 special economic zones alongside high tech complexes and is welcoming Korean investments and cooperation in raising the trade volume and economic relations.” Abida Islam also showed her thanks to the Korean government, the foreign minister and the people who warmly welcomed her when she first arrived in Korea 3 months ago. She closed her speech “Long live Bangladesh, Long live Republic of Korea, Long live Bangladesh – Republic of Korea Friendship.” Seo Jung-in, Director of the Office of Planning & Coordination at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took the podium soon after to give a congratulatory address. He said “I am honored to be here today to congratulate the 47th Anniversary of the Independence and National Day of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on behalf of the Korean government and the people. Since the diplomatic ties between S. Korea and Bangladesh in 1973, the two countries have seen a continuous cooperation in many fields and Korea has become the biggest investor in textile and clothes in Bangladesh. The Chairman of the National Assembly visited Bangladesh last year and it is notable that around 15,000 Bangladeshis are living in Korea at the moment. The UN Committee for Development Policy announced the Bangladesh’s graduation from the Least-Developed Countries this year and a World Bank report also says that the country will keep the 6.7% growth rate for the next three years. The Korean government’s New Southern Policy will widen the cooperation and make two countries closer than ever.” Seo then closed his speech by wishing a health and happiness to Bangladeshis living in Korea.
Note: <Power Korea> ‘rewrites’ the Korean article into English in ‘simple sentences’.
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