By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editorial Director Lee Kap-soo, Reporter Won Hwi
Ambassador Khamsouay Keodalavong of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic said, “As you may be aware, this year is the ‘Visit Laos Year 2018’ and the Lao Government has set up and proceeds 18 main activities in every province across the country such as Lao water festival, Thatluang festival, and Xayabouly elephant festival etc.”
Speaking at the Lao New Year celebration at the Korean Ministry of Defense Convention Hall at Samgakchi, Seoul on April 13, 2018, Ambassador Keodalabeong, then stated, “Some activities abroad in order to propagate and promote its tourism and culture, and to attract foreign tourists to visit Laos, the Lao Government and people expect to welcome 5.3 million foreign tourists, including over two hundred thousand Koreans, to visit Laos.”
Then he stressed that “currently there are five airlines which operate direct flights between Vientiane and Incheon and Vientiane and Busan creating more convenient flights for the people to people, cooperation and further expansion of investments, trade and tourism between our two countries.” (See further details of the speech at the end of this report.)
The reception was one of the best-prepared functions in recent months with various interesting cultural events included in the program adding spice and pleasure to the Lao New Year celebration which is unique in style and fashion.
Among the most interesting events of the evening was tying a Good Luck New Year String to the wrist of each guest, and many of the guests were accorded the honor personally by Ambassador and Madam Keodalavong who had his and her hands together in what looked like Korean Buddhist priests offering a benevolent prayer for the visitors to their temple.
The food and beverage at the party were wonderful and posed a substantially sharp contrast with some other diplomatic functions at top-rate hotels in Seoul where the guests would not do favor to the spread of repast but leave after staying a short minutes, some even without touching any of the food and beverage.
Here at the Korean National Defense Ministry Convention Hall were many ‘expensive’ food items which are not seen at non-deluxe receptions. They included the expensive steamed king-crab legs, fresh Saeseonhoe (sliced raw fish, known in Japanese as Sashimi, and a number of other delicacies which are not seen at other diplomatic functions. The guests obviously did full justice to the wonderful repast by substantially consuming the wonderful spread of rare delicacies. Also quickly consumed and fast-disappearing were the irresistible Korean stamina-builder, Doganitang (ox cartilage soup), and Muneogui or Takoyaki in Japanese (roast octopus), which were normally expensive and beyond the reach of common people.
Among the Korean guests attending the reception were Honorary Consul Kim Chang Min of the Lao PDR in Busan, Prof. Cho Wonguon of Daejeon, Chairman Oh Myung hwan of the Korea-Lao Friendship Association, retired Col. Lee Gun sik, Chairman Yi Jae Gwan of Korea Rare Metal company, Chairman Kim Dae Woong of the Haejuksoon Restaurant, CEO Kim Jihaan of Bridge-Puls, President Kim Jae Jin of Jinsung Aan Auto Junkyard, Chairman Kim Seho of Hanseyon Association, Chairman Lim Moon Soo of Songwoo Chemience Co., President Kim Hae Dong of Korea Funding and President Kim Jong Hee of Duke Pump Co
From the media came news publications representatives who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, publisher and owner of 3 English and 2 Korean-language media organizations.
A good number of Laotian nationals living in Korea, especially beautiful young ladies, presented beautiful traditional Laotian dances. The rhythms and body movements, which posed some contrast with traditional Korean dances, still were graceful and beautiful to the eyes of the audience.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Keodalabong:
First of all, On behalf of the Embassy, Honorary Consul of the Lao PDR to Busan and to Daejon and the Korea-Laos Friendship Association, I would like to thank you and highly appreciate to Excellencies, distinguished guests, who participate and join us today to celebrate the Lao New Year 2561.
I also would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all supporters who help us to host this reception .
According to the lunar calendar this year 2018, the Lao New Year or Water Festival in Laos will be celebrating for 3 days from 14th to 16th April. During these festive holidays, Lao people inside the country and oversea are happily and joyfully cerebrate. Traditionally, Lao New Year’s celebration consists of watering Buddha images, monks, elders, seniors, friends, families’ member gathering and hold a Baci ceremony at their house to welcome the Lucky New Year.
On this auspicious occasion of the forthcoming Lao New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Excellencies, distinguished guests attending this event today, all Lao citizen who are working, studying, researching, training and living in the Republic of Korea as well as Lao people in worldwide, especially people and Government of Laos and Korean people a happiness, good health, prosperity and great success.
Since the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic relations on October 25, 1995, the relationship and cooperation between our two countries have been continuously strengthened, expanded and developed, which show the regularly exchanged visit of high ranking delegations and the cooperation in the fields of socio-economic, trade, investment and tourism as well as mutual assistance increase steadily.
As you may know, this year is the “Visit Laos Year 2018”, the Lao Government has set up and proceeding 18 main activities in every province across the country such as Lao water festival, Thatluang festival, Xayabouly elephant festival etc.. and some activities in abroad in order to propagate and promote its tourism, culture, and to attract foreign tourists to visit Laos. The Lao Government and people expect to welcome 5.3 million foreign tourists including over two hundred thousand Koreans to visit Laos. Currently, there are five airlines which operate direct flights between Vientiane and Incheon and Vientiane and Busan creating more convenient for the people to people, cooperation and further expansion of investments, trade and tourism between our two countries. May I take this opportunity to invite all of you to visit Laos this year.
On behalf of the Lao Government, Lao people and my own behalf, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for kind support and assistance throughout the last decades and we hope that will continue in the future.
May I take this opportunity once again to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Excellencies, diplomats, distinguished guests, participants as well as all supporters to this New Year celebration today? May I wish you all a happiness, good health, prosperity and great success in your careers and business, especially I would also like to wish the fruitful cooperation and friendly relationship between our two countries a prosperity and continuous expansion in order to bring more mutual benefits to the people of the Lao PDR and the Republic of Korea.
I thank you and a Happy New Year!