RECEPTION ON THE OCCASION OF
DURBAN : OCTOBER 5, 2001
Ambassador Park; Mr Schoeman; Mr Macpherson; Members of the Consular Corps in Durban; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure for me to attend today’s celebration of the Republic of Korea’s National Day. I believe that my being invited here, as I was last year when the first reception of this nature was held in Durban, points to the strength of the ties between Korea and South Africa. I wish to thank Mr Rory Macpherson, Honorary Consul, for extending this invitation, and also to take this opportunity to congratulate him on his dedication and tireless efforts to increase and consolidate co-operation between the business sectors of our respective countries.
With the establishment of formal ties between South Africa and Korea in 1992, a new dialogue has opened between our countries which has proven both amicable and mutually beneficial. Co-operative relations in every sector, in the political, economic and social sphere, have characterised a good working relationship between our peoples. The Korean community living in South Africa is steadily growing and while it is as yet relatively small, its contribution to South Africa has taken on vitality and substance. I welcome this contribution not merely because I am a pluralist and believe that diversity is our country’s greatest strength, but because I know that Korea boasts an industrious nation which has much to teach South Africa and its people.
Your country, like ours, has a wealth of traditions which makes social and cultural exchanges between us a worthy pursuit. I hope that in this as in every other area, we may strengthen our ties and expand the vast potential we envisaged in 1992. As we conduct more and more business between our countries, I hope that we may also develop a better understanding between our peoples that embraces what each has to offer. I am pleased that our governments have been able to maintain a close dialogue for almost ten years, which will bear fruit for our nations in the years to come. I am also pleased that my Immigration Bill is now finally before Parliament as it will enable the doors of South Africa to become more widely ajar to mutually beneficial exchanges and the travel of Korean tourists, businessmen and skilled workers towards South Africa.
For the world at large, the Republic of Korea is a symbol of industriousness and the capacity to adjust to present and future challenges. As a country with an ancient past, Korea has found its way to sail through turbulent contemporary times to map a bright path for its future ahead. The Korean spirit should be an example which South Africa should consider with interest and admiration. South Africa still needs to create a national spirit of its own and bring together its many still unleashed and unexploited potentials towards a joint national effort of growth and development.
I firmly believe that our interactions with countries such as Korea will enable us to better understand and focus on our own destiny. I also firmly believe that our own destiny lies in building several bridges across the Indian Ocean and beyond, to reach out for the countries of the southern hemisphere. South Africa must look eastwards and I hope that in these efforts the strategic importance of Durban will rightly be recognised and appreciated.
It is an honour to raise a toast to the Republic of Korea on this important day. May the years to come be marked by receptions such as this as we celebrate a growing closeness between South Africa and the people of Korea. I wish you well and I thank you.
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