By Ms. Joy Cho (vice chairperson, diplomatic feature editor)
The Kingdom of Spain is a very special country to the Republic of Korea and this is well exemplified by the statement made by President Moon Jae-in on June 17, 2021.
President Moon said, “Our two countries have similar historical experiences: overcoming a civil war and authoritarian era, approaching the ranks of the world’s top 10 economies and achieving democratization.”
Excerpts from the statement of President Moon follow:
My visit to Spain and other countries of Europe is finally complete. The journey has been very demanding physically.
However, as packed as the itinerary has been, much has been accomplished and I feel it has been very rewarding. Once again, I extend my gratitude to His Majesty King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Sánchez for inviting the Republic of Korea to be Spain’s first state guest since the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking time out for me on many scheduled events.
There are many fountains in Madrid, the heart of Spain. The fountains look refreshing and, at the same time, represent vibrant beauty. They seem to embody the dynamism of Madrid. Barcelona looks quite a lot like Busan in that it is a seaside city with a port stacked with cargo containers and a sandy beach like Haeundae.
When we think of Spain, the Camino de Santiago, the fine arts and architecture, passion and soccer come to mind. Marathoner Hwang Young-cho, the Hero of Montjuïc, also enters our thoughts. However, Spain is an eco-friendly energy technology powerhouse with new and renewable energy accounting for 40 percent of its energy mix, and it ranks second in the world in terms of construction orders received. Our two countries are cooperating with each other in the construction of solar and wind power plants, and Spain is also the biggest partner in the overseas infrastructure construction market.
Spain changed the history of the world by opening the Age of Exploration. Now, the country is venturing out into the world as it did at that time. The Republic of Korea also seeks to become a bridging country to connect the continent with oceans and advanced nations with developing ones. Above all, our two countries have similar historical experiences: overcoming a civil war and authoritarian era, approaching the ranks of the world’s top 10 economies and achieving democratization.
When considering both population and economic size, it is the country most similar to Korea. Our two countries have a strong desire to cooperate and develop together. We have become each other’s needed strategic partner.
Upon completing all of the scheduled events, I am now returning to Seoul. We affirmed the Republic of Korea’s international status at the G7 Summit. From Vienna, we return with a sense of pride in culture and the arts, and from Spain the determination and passion to usher in a new era. Talks with pharmaceutical companies about vaccine-related cooperation were also part of this trip.
Whenever on an overseas trip, I gain strength from members of the local Korean communities. This time again, they came to cheer on me and my delegation wherever we went: Cornwall, a remote English county; Vienna, Austria; and Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. I send special thanks to them.
The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affaires introduces Spain and Korean-Spanish relations, cooperation and friendship as follows:
Spain, located on the Iberian Peninsula at the western end of continental Europe, is the 14th largest economy in the world as of 2021, a cultural power where Greco-Roman, Catholic, and Islamic cultures coexist. no see. The sun, bullfighting, flamenco, pilgrimage to Santiago, football, wine, Picasso, Gaudi and the Alhambra are various icons of Spain's endless charm.
Spain has been making steady economic and social development based on political stability, and is increasing its role on the international stage as a member of the European Union (EU), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), and OECD (Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation).
Korea and Spain established diplomatic ties on March 17, 1950, and this year marks the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. As 'strategic partners', both countries with similar economic power and population size have continued to develop exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as politics, economy, trade and culture. After King Felipe VI's state visit to Korea in October 2019 and President Moon Jae-in's state visit to Spain in June 2021, the two countries have been working in various fields such as digital transformation, the fourth industrial revolution, joint entry into third countries, eco-friendly energy, and tourism. agreed to further promote substantive cooperation.
Although personnel exchanges, economic cooperation, trade, and tourism exchanges between the two countries are inevitably affected due to COVID-19, which has hit the world, our embassy is making further efforts to promote friendly cooperation between the two countries and to enhance mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries. I want to sleep. In addition, we will continue to do our best to ensure the safety of our compatriots and travelers and to protect the rights and interests of our businesses.
Here is an account of Wikipedia on relations between Korea and Spain.
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Spain and the Republic of Korea dates back to March 1950. In 2010, the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations was celebrated.
Since the state visit of the King and Queen in October 1996 and that of the President of the Government, José María Aznar, in October 2000, followed by further exchanges. The State visit to Spain by the President Roh Moo-hyun, in February 2007, helped to consolidate the bilateral relationship between both countries, allowing the signing of instruments such as the Memorandum of Understanding of Political Dialogue or the Joint Declaration.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, visited Korea on March 25 on 2009. During their visit, a Judicial Assistance Agreement in Criminal Matters and an Agreement on Protection of Classified Military Information were signed.