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This year is to see the first direct commercial charter flights between Korea and Latvia operated by KOREAN AIR. The three flights have been scheduled for 24 May, 31 May and 7 June, and they are organized by HANJIN TRAVEL, one of the largest Korean tour agencies, with support from the Latvian Embassy to the Republic of Korea, the Tourism Department of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), Riga International Airport, and Riga Tourism Development Bureau LIVE RIGA.
These will be the first direct commercial flight between the capital cities of Latvia and the Republic of Korea, expected to carry about 700 passengers.
Since the Latvian Embassy in the Republic of Korea was opened in the late 2015, it has been cooperating with the LIAA Tourism Department, LIVE RIGA and other partners to attract tourists from Korea through organizing tourism seminars, taking part in travel fairs and offering a hands-on experience of the country during exploration trips to Latvia.
A brochure on Latvia has been produced in the Korean language, and Baltic maps and a Riga brochure have been translated; these publications will be made available for each passenger of the charter flights.
In the late 2018 in New York, the Foreign Ministers of Latvia and the Republic of Korea signed the Air Traffic Agreement, which was ratified by the Latvian Parliament in January 2019. The coming into force of the agreement establishes the legal framework for launching direct flights between the two countries.
“Latvia 100 Snapshot Stories” published
In order to raise the visibility of Latvia in the Republic of Korea through explaining the country’s history and culture, the Embassy of Latvia in Seoul hosted a presentation for the leading Korean media of a Korean-language edition of a book titled “Latvia 100 Snapshot Stories”.
The event was opened with a musical performance by young Korean musicians – the cellist Jiyeon Bae, the viola player Seoyeon Bae, the violinist Iynn Nam and the pianist Minseo Park – followed by readings of stories from the book presented by the Korean storyteller Won-suk Ji.
Latvia 100 Snapshot Stories is a publication by the Latvian Institute, offering an insight, through one hundred short stories, into Latvian history, traditions, the formation of statehood and achievements in various fields. This is the first book in the Korean language presenting comprehensive information on Latvia in a single volume.
Copies of the book will be delivered to libraries, universities, public opinion leaders, experts in history and culture in Korea, as well as actively used in events held to promote the image of Latvia.
The publication of the book, Latvia 100 Snapshot Stories, is part of the public diplomacy programme to mark Latvia’s Centenary, coordinated by the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Embassy offers its appreciation to Ieva Stare from the Latvian Institute, Professor Jin-seok Seo from the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Latvia and the team of the Seoul Selection publishing house for their support and professional contribution to the project.
First exhibition of Latvia architecture in Seoul
On 18 February, the Soorim Arts Center in Seoul hosted a festive opening ceremony for an exhibition devoted to Latvian architecture, ‘Latvia.Architecture at Convergence’. This is the first exhibition on Latvian architecture in the Republic of Korea. It has been organized to mark Latvia’s Centenary and introduce viewers to outstanding achievements of the country in architecture, thereby raising the profile of Latvia in the respective sector in Korea. The exhibition will be on display until 24 March.
Ten modules of the exhibition with 40 large scale photographs and annotations reflect the diversity of Latvia’s architecture rich in wooden built heritage, mediaeval buildings included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, Art Nouveau masterpieces – all of which have left their permanent imprint on the development of European culture.
The photographs have been complemented with panels featuring a graphic presentation of all those historical, political and economic influences that have shaped the architecture and cultural environment in Latvia. In addition, the exhibition offers three short films about Latvian architecture, and books about Latvia have also been put on view.
Alongside information materials on Latvia’s Centenary, the audience can also explore “The Time Line” – a parallel graphical presentation of milestone events in the history of Latvia and Korea – to gain a better insight into Latvia’s past.
The exhibition titled ‘Latvia. Architecture at Convergence’ is part of the public diplomacy programme to mark Latvia’s Centenary, coordinated by the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The unveiling of the exhibition brought together reporters from the leading Korean media, architecture experts, students and others interested.
PēterisVaivars pays a visit to Ulsan and Jinju
On 20–21 February 2019, with the aim of promoting economic relations between Latvia and Korea, Ambassador Pēteris Vaivars went on a regional visit to the cities of Ulsan and Jinju. The highlight of the visit was the Ambassador’s participation in the naming and launching ceremony for a chemical tanker CLYDE, built in Korea’s largest shipyard, Hyundai Heavy Industries. Under an agreement between the owners, Union Maritime, and a Latvian company SIA LSC, the latter undertakes the ship’s technical management and recruits the crew. SIA LSC Executive Director Aleksejs Sidorenko and the ship’s Master Dmitrijs Ovčiņņikovs were also present at the event.
The Ambassador then met with the Vice-Mayor of Ulsan, SONG, Byung-gi, and the President of the Ulsan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, JEON, Yeong-do. The parties discussed the promotion of economic cooperation in the areas such as the use of modern technologies in the sectors traditional for Korea – shipbuilding and industry – and the export of Latvian timber products with a high value added. Timber industry products are currently ranking first in the structure of Latvia’s exports to Korea, with veneer and pallets dominating.
The trip was concluded with the Ambassador’s visit to the city of Jinju in the south of the country, which sees active cooperation with Latvia in the timber trade sector, being home to Palleteries Korea, related to the company Palleteries in Latvia. In a meeting with the Mayor, the parties agreed to move ahead with the ongoing cooperation in the timber-processing sector, as well as promoting city-to-city cooperation between Jinju and Kuldīga in Latvia. At the Jinju Chamber of Commerce, and agreement was reached on the potential export of new timber products – prefabricated timber houses – to Korea, and the export of designer furniture was also discussed.
At Palleteries Korea, its senior manager Alex Kang introduced the Ambassador to the company’s operations and thanked him for the Embassy’s current support of the import of Latvian timber products. Mr. Kang then informed the Ambassador about the plans to start the import of children’s bicycles from Latvia this year. While in Junju, the Ambassador also discussed potential cooperation with a drone manufacturing company that delivers its products to local and central government institutions.
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