Latvia proudly celebrates the 100th Birthday of the Latvian State and opens new page in bilateral relations with Korea in 2018

김종관 기자l승인2018.12.13

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Written address by the Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia Mr. Pēteris Vaivars on the occasion of the Centenary of the Republic of Latvia. November 18, 2018

I am honored to address the people of Korea on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Latvia. On behalf of the President of Latvia, H.E. Raimonds Vējonis and the people of Latvia, I would like to express the deepest respect and true friendship to the people of Korea.

This year of 2018 was indeed a very special year for Latvia, Korea and for the whole world. PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and summit diplomacy of the President MOON Jae-in led to the peace and cooperation on Korean peninsula. 

I am proud that the President of the Republic of Latvia H.E. Raimonds Vējonis was among of the first world leaders to confirm his participation at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. 

Summit meeting with President MOON Jae-in turned out as a constructive and both countries linking dialogue. Bilateral visits of three ministers from Latvia (Foreign Affairs, Economics and Defence) clearly indicated Latvia’s interest to strengthen and develop bilateral cooperation in the respective fields.

Latvia and Korea share common values of democracy, protection of human rights, understanding of rule-based international order and peace. Latvia has been vocal to support Republic of Korea for peace on the Korean peninsula. Latvia has been vocal when our friends and partners in Europe needed its support in Ukraine and Georgia. 

Latvia has been vocal to promote peace and stability in fragile world regions and strengthen peace on basis of the international rule and cooperation. We expect that also the Republic of Korea will support efforts for peace and cooperation based on the international law in other regions and continue to be not only active trade partner but important ally of the European Union in global issues.

Furthermore, I would like to underline growing figures of Latvian exports to Korea and growing number of Latvian companies engaging themselves in business relations with Korea. 

We aim to surpass 100 million EUR in trade in coming year and expect to welcome growing numbers of Korean tourists by opening new direct connections between our countries after great coverage of Latvia on Korean TV (two KBS programs, Arirang TV and coming MBC program). This year we have also concluded the Air Service Agreement with Korea in order to make preparations to open regular direct air service.

The vector of the global economy is data-driven economics, digital transformation and artificial intelligence - no matter where it is happening - in Asia, Africa, Europe or America. I am proud to note that Latvia is one of the fastest developing economies in the European Union as well as one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to the speed of Internet and mobile data use. We are in top10 for the Internet speed and second after Finland for the usage of mobile data.

As Europe is actively involved in the race for getting at the forefront of the introduction of 5G technology, the Baltic Sea region is perfectly positioned to be a digital frontrunner towards 5G opportunities in Europe. We are ready to challenge Silicon Valley and Asia in this global competition, and that is the reason why leading 5G players, from all over the world, including Korean Samsung and other companies just recently met in Latvia on 27-28 September for the Baltic Sea Region 5G Ecosystem Forum “5G Techritory”. 

Our region offers perfect test-bed for new technologies to be tested and optimized; our main technology providers are open to cooperate with innovative and technological companies and we have well established cooperation between academia – businesses – government institutions. Welcome to Latvia – Start-up friendly and supportive environment and your Gateway to Europe!

In conclusion, as the days grow colder and winters in Korea generally are much colder than in Latvia, I invite one and all to participate in the “Latvia in Mittens campaign”.  In celebration of the Latvian State Centenary give your friends and family one of the most ancient symbols of Latvian culture colourful mittens in traditional patterns, so you can celebrate November 18th in style and with warm hands. 

Latvian mittens are a timeless classic they also tell the history of Latvia because they have been used in battle by Latvian Riflemen, have travelled to Siberia in exile, and are still used in Latvia and elsewhere.

And since we are approaching Christmas time and representing the country which is the birthplace of Christmas tree, I would like to wish everyone to have a quiet Christmas together with families, friends and loved ones along with my best wishes for a prosperity and happiness to the people of Korea and to all Latvians living in Korea.

Peteris Vaivars
Ambassador of the Republic of Latvia


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