The following message of Ambassador Jasem Albudaiwi of Kuwait in Seoul was contributed to The Korea Post for publication on the occasion of the National Day of Kuwait.--Ed.
Kuwaitis around the world are celebrating the 53rd Anniversary of the National Day on February 25, 2014 and the 23rd Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait on February 26, 2014. On these significant and auspicious occasions, it is with great honor that, on behalf of the Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Seoul, I extend the heartfelt regards and best wishes to the friendly People and Government of the Republic of Korea, and to Her Excellency, President Park Geun-hye.
The celebration of the National Day and the Libration Day of the State of Kuwait comes amidst continuously growing relations between Kuwait and Korea. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in June 1979, the bilateral relations have flourished a sound momentum of cooperation, highlighted by mutual political trust and support, economic and trade development, and exchanges of knowledge and cultures between the two nations. As Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Republic of Korea, I am committed to further strengthening bilateral relations, while actively promoting mutually beneficial understanding, exchanges and opportunities in the fields of economy, culture, education and healthcare between the two nations.
The importance of the close bilateral relationship in the economic and trade arenas cannot be understated. South Korea has consistently been among Kuwait’s largest import and export trading partners, accounting for 18 percent of total exports and 7 percent of total imports of Kuwait. As the second-largest crude oil supplier for Korea, Kuwait provides about 15-20 percent of Korea’s total crude oil imports. Korean companies have successfully been awarded numerous oil and infrastructure-related projects by the Kuwait government and companies, such as upgrade and expansion of refinery and construction of power stations in oil wells. During the 5th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable, held on September 13, 2013, Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Oil Mustafa Al-Shamali called for more participation by South Korean companies in Kuwait's oil infrastructure projects, and for the expansion of bilateral energy cooperation between the two countries beyond crude oil trading.
In comparison to the widely known bilateral trade relations and cooperative projects in oil and infrastructure, what may not be so obvious are the ever-growing interactions across diverse industries between the two countries. Kuwait recognizes the high quality of services in the Korean education and health sectors. Wide-ranging cooperation in these sectors between the two countries is just beginning, as a number of Kuwait patients choose Korea as the destination of care and treatment, and Kuwait students will be placed in some of the best Korean institutions to enhance their capabilities.
The future of the Korea-Kuwait relationship is brighter than ever. The year of 2013 was marked by the assumption of power of President Park Geun-hye following the elections in Korea in December 2012. In a congratulatory letter to the President, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah emphasized the means to bolster bilateral ties in various fields and developments on regional and international arenas.
Despite the geographical distance and different social and cultural traditions, both nations have expressed a sincerest wish to enhance friendship. The development of increasing cooperation demonstrates the potential for the relations to be propelled to an even higher level and broader scope. In this context, I am honored to have recently been appointed as the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Republic of Korea at this important and historic moment in relations between the two countries. I have started my duties officially upon presenting my credentials to President Park Geun-hye, on November 22, 2013 and I reiterate my commitment to working diligently in order to substantiate the already existing good relations and further expand partnership especially in the areas of education and health. The joint efforts of the two governments and peoples will continue to acquire further strength in the days to come.
Lastly, on this joyful occasion, I would like to express my earnest hope that the people and the government of the Republic of Korea continue to enjoy peace, stability and prosperity.