By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Writers Kevin Lee, Yeu Min-yul
Her Excellency Ambassador Marcia Donner Abreu of Brazil in Seoul said, “In the 20 years since 1822, Brazil has developed into one of the world's 10 largest economies, one of the largest in Latin America, and a vibrant democracy.” Then she said, “Brazil is an agricultural and environmental power, a global trading partner and player, and a member of the United Nations, Mercosur, BRICS and G-20.”
Speaking at reception in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Independence of Brazil at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul on the evening of Sept. 1, 2022, Ambassador Abreu then added, “In today's difficult times, Brazil is a wonderful country that supports the peaceful resolution of conflicts, consensus and integration among nations, and strengthening cooperation.”
Ambassador Abreu, a lady ambassador in Seoul from Brazil for the first time in many years, then spoke on her appointment to Korea as the ambassador of Brazil. She said, “I would like to emphasize once again how proud I am to have been appointed Ambassador of Brazil to Korea.”
Then she said, “The recent history of Korea, which overcame the ravages of war and made remarkable progress, has become a model for the world, and I think there are many opportunities to further develop and expand the very fruitful cooperative relationship between the two countries that has been established in the 63 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties.”
(See excerpts from her speech toward the end of this article.)
Ambassador Abreu’s speech was followed by a congratulatory speech by Second Vice Minister Lee Do-hoon of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea. He said, “Brazil is the first country that Korea established diplomatic relations with in Latin America, and is the largest investment destination in Latin America and the second largest trading destination in Latin America, where more than 120 Korean companies are active.”
Vice Minister Lee then said, “Since the establishment of the 'Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership' in 2004, Korea and Brazil have expanded active exchanges and cooperation in various fields such as politics, economy, society, culture, and sports.”
He said, “I hope that substantive cooperation in the fields of scientific and technological innovation, 5G, semiconductor, and aerospace, which are common interests of the Kingdom, will be further expanded in the future, and, in this regard, I look forward to close cooperation with the new Ambassador Abreu in the process of promoting bilateral relations between Korea and Brazil.”
Ambassador Abreu appeared to be a very active lady diplomat, and met with many guests at the party, both the Korean guests and fellow ambassadors and diplomats.
Before the actual opening of the reception, the guests had a good chance of learning much about Brazil watching the economic, historical and various other areas of the country from the pictures shown on a large screen placed on both sides of the stage.
To the Republic of Korea and the Korean people, Brazil is a very important country in many respects.
As a member of the G20, Brazil is the world's 5th-largest country in terms of land area, with a vast territory of 8.51 million square kilometers which is 37 times the size of the Korean Peninsula and 85 times the Republic of Korea in the south. She is the world's 12th largest country (as of 2020) in terms of GDP with a population of about 210 million people.
According to information from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Brazil is a world-class agricultural and livestock country (the world's largest exporter of sugar, chicken, soybeans, coffee, etc.), and has abundant natural resources and extensive arable land (22% of the world's arable land). Brazil has a global competitiveness in fields such as bioenergy.
In addition, the youthful dynamism of the average national age of 32 and the inclusiveness and diversity of various races are evaluated as strengths.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1959, Korea and Brazil have continuously expanded and developed close cooperative relations in various fields such as politics, economy, science and technology, culture and environment. Korea and Brazil are developing as partnership countries for coprosperity in the 21st century.
In 2019, Korea and Brazil celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations the two countries and started a powerful journey towards a new 60 years. In the recent COVID-19 situation, Korea is strengthening cooperation in the health sector while various exchanges and cooperation despite difficulties caused by the pandemic.
If the ongoing trade negotiations between Korea and Mercosur are successfully concluded, it will be a turning point that is expected to dramatically change the human and material exchanges between Korea and Brazil, and trade and investment between the two countries is expected to further increase.
Among the Korean companies actively engaged in the promotion of bilateral cooperation in the economic and business areas are Hyundai, LG and Samsung. Hyundai Motor produces 180,000 cars a year, and its production plant has invested more than US$800 million in 1,390,000 pyeong of land area (1 pyeong equals approx. 36 square meters) in Piracicaba, a city in the central part of the state of Sao Paulo.
Hyundai is known to have consistently been producing the local HB20 model in Brazil since October 2012 with a total of 2,600 employees and 30,000 jobs. Hyundai Motor is investing in various projects in Brazil. Hyundai Mobis supplies car parts to Hyundai Motor's HB20, hiring more than 1,000 local staff, and invests more than $ 100 million.
In addition, not only Hyundai Motors, Hyundai Steel, Hyundai Glovis, Hyundai Auto Ever, Hyundai Capital, Hyundai Engineering, Hyundai Rotem but also THN, Dongwon Group, Doowon, Hwashin, Hanil, MS are known to have plants in Piracicaba region and they find Brazilian market very attractive. Hyundai already has very strong positions in the market. Hyundai Elevator is present in the Brazilian market and small and medium-sized companies producing Hyundai auto parts are also entering the local market.
Samsung is producing mainly mobile phone parts at their Brazilian plant. In Pecém, the Northeastern port of Brazil, there is a steel mill CSP (Companhia Siderúrgica do Pecém), a joint venture among POSCO, Dongkuk Steel and Brazilian mining giant Vale.
SK Group is also known to be working on investment projects in Brazil. In addition, there is a Korean company specializing in semiconductor packaging called 'Hana Micron' located in southern Brazil.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Abreu:
Ambassadors to Korea and diplomatic missions,
Dear Koreans, it is an honor to meet with you at this meeting tonight, including the Brazilian and Korean business representatives who supported this event together with the Brazilian Embassy in Korea.
On behalf of President Tsir Bolsonaro of Brazil and Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Fransa, I am honored to speak here celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brazil's independence.
During the first two decades of the 19th century, the winds of change swept across Ibero America. As awareness of the injustices of the American and French Revolutions, the enlightenment, and colonial rule grew, the independence movement spread across America, while in Europe new political forces and ideas were gradually overthrowing the absolute monarchy of the previous century.
Brazil's independence was a long process that began in 1808 when the Portuguese royal family arrived from Rio de Janeiro.
After becoming the center of the Portuguese Empire, many reforms took place in the colony. Brazil opened ports to its allies for trade, revitalized many economic activities, including manufacturing, which were previously banned, and established major facilities and institutions. And in 1815, Brazil was elevated to the Portuguese-Algarve United Kingdom.
In 1821, King João returned to Portugal to fight the liberal revolution in Portugal, and his eldest son, Pedro de Bragansa, remained in Brazil as Prince Regent. Prince Pedro, along with his wife, Maria Leopozina of the Habsburg-Bragansa dynasty, and his chief adviser and minister, Brazilian José Bonifacio de Andrada, will play an important role in the declaration of independence.
Regent Pedro refused to return to Lisbon, and in January 1822 declared that he would "remain" in Brazil. On September 7, 1822, on his way back from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, Prince Pedro learns from two urgent letters from Andrada and Princess Leopougina that Portugal wants him back.
The prince reacted immediately. With solemn cries of 'independence or death', Brazil elects secession from Portugal. In October 1822, Pedro I ascended to the throne as the first emperor of the Brazilian Empire.
For Brazil, diplomacy has played an essential role from the outset. The first was the key to Brazil's recognition of its independence.
In recent years, Brazil has played a pivotal role in giving a voice to defending an international order that promotes sovereignty, liberal values, the rule of law, sustainable development and multilateralism, which are the cornerstones for peace-stability and prosperity for all mankind.
In the 20 years since 1822, Brazil has developed into one of the world's 10 largest economies, one of the largest in Latin America, and a vibrant democracy. Brazil is an agricultural and environmental power, a global trading partner and player, and a member of the United Nations, Mercosur, BRICS and G-20.
In today's difficult times, Brazil is a wonderful country that supports the peaceful resolution of conflicts, consensus and integration among nations, and strengthening cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to emphasize once again how proud I am to have been appointed Ambassador of Brazil to Korea. The recent history of Korea, which overcame the ravages of war and made remarkable progress, has become a model for the world. I think there are many opportunities to further develop and expand the very fruitful cooperative relationship between the two countries that has been established in the 63 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in celebrating the 200th anniversary of Brazil's independence and honoring Emperor Pedro I, Empress Maria Leopoldina, and José Bonifacio de Andrada, the father of independence and the greatest diplomat of the independent state of Brazil.
Now, I will hand over the microphone to Mr. Lee Do-hoon, the scond vice minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
Excerpts from the speech of Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Do-hoon:
Her Excellency Márcia Donner Abreu,
Ambassador-Designate of the Federative Republic of Brazil to the Republic of Korea,
Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honor and pleasure to join you all in celebrating this meaningful occasion of the 200th anniversary of the National Independence Day of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Korea, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Government and people of Brazil.
Last week, I heard the impressive news that the embalmed heart of Dom Pedro, the father of independence and the first Emperor of Brazil, has been transported to Brazil from Portugal in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Brazil's independence.
His cry at the banks of the Ipiranga, "Independence or death," was an expression of the zeitgeist that would ultimately lead the country to the abolition of slavery and the era of liberalism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Brazil was the first country in Latin America with which Korea established diplomatic relations. It has become the largest investment destination and the second biggest trading partner in Latin America, with more than 120 Korean companies doing business in various parts of Brazil.
Since the establishment of the Comprehensive Cooperation Partnership in 2004 between the two countries, Korea and Brazil have expanded bilateral cooperation in all aspects of our relations spanning the political, business, cultural and sports fields.
Looking ahead, we would like to further develope the substantial ties of cooperation in the fields of science and technology, innovation, 5G, semiconductors, and aerospace which are areas of common interest to both countries.
In addition, I hope to continue our partnerships in responding to global issues such as climate change, supply chain restructuring, food security and carbon neutrality. And I wish the Korea-MERCOSUR trade agreement negotiations will make further progress soon.
In this context, we look forward to working closely with new Brazilian Ambassador to Korea, Her Excellency Márcia Abreu to further promote and nurture the Korea-Brazil bilateral relations.
As we all know, it is next year that we have another milestone to celebrate - the 60th anniversary of Korean immigration to Brazil. I’d like to see that exchanges between the peoples of the two countries will be further boosted and indeed we look forward to even more thriving cultural exchanges.
Warm congratulations once again on the 200th anniversary of Brazil's independence. With that, I would like to propose a toast.
“To the continued prosperity of the Federal Republic of Brazil and the abiding bonds of friendship between the peoples of our two countries!”