Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening ceremony of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, Seoul, March 24, 2021
I am delighted to have an opportunity to speak at the opening ceremony of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea held on a landmark occasion for our countries, the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between them. The historical decision made on September 30, 1990 was a logical result of Moscow’s New Political Thinking and Seoul’s Northern Policy. In other words, our countries abandoned the fallacious Cold War logic that divided them for several decades.
I am pleased to say that we have moved a long way over a historically short period of time. Today Russia and the Republic of Korea maintain truly neighbourly relations based on common long-term interests and distinguished by a high level of mutual respect and trust.
We have developed a sustained political dialogue, which is being strengthened and promoted by regular contacts at the top level. Our trade, economic and investment cooperation is developing dynamically. The main spheres of our combined efforts include the implementation of large-scale projects, primarily in Siberia and the Russian Far East with active use of the advantages created for foreign businesses in our priority development areas and the Free Port of Vladivostok.
Of singular importance, as my colleague has pointed out, is our cooperation within the framework of the concept of Nine Bridges initiated by President Moon Jae-in, which stipulates the development of cooperation in energy, transportation, shipbuilding and shipping, agriculture, fisheries and other sectors.
We are expanding our humanitarian ties, there are regular exchange visits by performance groups and exhibitions, and we hold festivals and other joint events. Proof of Russians and Koreans’ increasing mutual interest is the popularity of the partner country’s language, history and culture plus the growth of mutual tourism.
I have no doubt that the Year of Cultural Exchanges will help strengthen our multifaceted dialogue and break new ground. As we could see today, the events scheduled for the Year of Cultural Exchanges are being implemented. A decision to extend it into this year will allow us to strengthen bilateral contacts even more, primarily between people. We have the necessary conditions for this. Some events on the busy agenda have been held online, for example, the Russia-Korea Business Dialogue: Next Steps of Successful Bilateral Cooperation. Another important event was Korea’s participation as a partner country in the Open Innovations international forum in Moscow. The Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund and the Korea-Russia Culture and Arts Society carried on the positive tradition by organising an international conference last year under the theme 30 Years of Korea-Russia Culture and Arts Exchange and Future Tasks. Our countries also attended the international book fairs in Moscow and Seoul as guests of honour. More events were also held at the regional level.
I hope that this year we will be able to implement as many events on the Year of Cultural Exchanges programme as possible. The most important events include the Russia-Korea Interregional Cooperation Forum in Ulsan and the Russian Seasons International Festival, during which world-famous Russian performers will visit Korea.
I have no doubt that through our joint efforts we will strengthen friendship and mutual understanding between our nations, which is the main goal of the Year of Cultural Exchanges, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
In conclusion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those present in this room for their substantial practical contribution to the development of friendly and neighbourly relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea. I would also like to congratulate you once again on the opening of the Year of Cultural Exchanges.