1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Korean Political Science Association, held a forum titled “ROK-Hungary Celebrate 30 Years of Diplomatic Relations : Past, Present, and a Future of Peace” at The Westin Chosun Hotel, Seoul, at 2:00 p.m., on July 26.
2. The forum consisted of an opening ceremony, and sessions on “The Diplomatic Relations of the ROK and Hungary: Accomplishments and Historical Implications” and “Korea’s Northern Diplomacy and Peace Process on the Korean Peninsula.”
° In his opening remarks, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Tae-ho highlighted the special relationship between Korea and Hungary that had begun at the end of the 19th century before the establishment of diplomatic relations; extended appreciation to the Hungarian government for its cooperation as well as to the Hungarian people for their sincere tribute to the victims of the boat accident in May 2019; and asked Europe including Hungary and the international community for support in the journey toward permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
* Before the opening ceremony, the participants took a moment of silence for the victims of the boat accident.
° In his congratulatory remarks, Hungarian Ambassador to the ROK, Mózes Csoma, highlighted historical and national similarities between Korea and Hungary, mentioning that a large number of Hungarian intellectuals had supported the Korean independence movement during the Japanese occupation of Korea; and spoke about the efforts to establish a Hungarian cultural center in the ROK, scheduled to open in late 2019, as well as the launch of direct flights between Seoul and Budapest.
° In his keynote speech, special adviser to the ROK President for unification, foreign and security affairs Moon Chung-in spoke about the ROK government’s principles of ‘peace’ first, denuclearization, international cooperation and public consent for building a nuclear-weapon-free, peaceful Korean Peninsula. He stressed that peace should be maintained on the basis of the ROK-United States (U.S.) alliance and a robust defensive posture and that, in order to build peace, continued efforts should be made to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, he added that despite the current difficulties, the peace process will ultimately continue to move forward; and asked participants to trust and support the ROK government with patience and prudence during the peace process.
° Session 1 covered the background behind the establishment of the ROK-Hungary diplomatic relations and its historical implications and provided a review of their bilateral cooperation in areas such as economy and culture as well as ways to promote cooperation in the future. Session 2 dealt with a European perspective on the ROK government’s efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and implications of the northern policy on the current peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
3. The forum was attended by people from various sectors, including former ROK Ambassadors to Hungary, former and current Hungarian Ambassadors to the ROK, and academic experts. At the forum, the participants shed new light on the ROK-Hungary relations, including the rising popularity of Hallyu (Korean Wave) and Korean enterprises’ investment in Hungary, and reinforced exchanges and cooperation through the Visegrad Group. In addition, the event is seen to have served as an opportunity to call for attention and support from Central Europe, including Hungary, with regard to the ROK government’s efforts to achieve permanent peace and co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia through the peace-driven economy of the Korean Peninsula.