Wien, 30. January 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “We intend to make good use of the Austria-Korea Year for deepening our relationships further”

Presentation of the cultural programme on the 120th anniversary of bilateral relations between Korea and Austria

Vienna, 30 January 2012 – “We are very pleased to report that Austria enjoys a very close relationship with Korea. This is not least due to the many young people from Korea who come to Austria to study – music, mainly. We intend to make good use of the Austria-Korea Year for deepening our relations even further”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the occasion of the presentation of the cultural programme for the anniversary year today. In his speech, the Vice Chancellor also made a reference to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who knows Austria well, having been a former ambassador here, and who is still very attached to our country. And Korea’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kim Sung-hwan, also served as an ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Austria until 2008.

“Korea and Austria share many important values, such as democracy and respect for human rights, as well as very specific interests, such as disarmament, development policy and the fight against corruption. These common interests were also confirmed during State Secretary Waldner’s recent visit to South Korea in December 2011“, the Vice Chancellor continued.

South Korea is Austria’s fourth most important trading partner outside Europe, behind the USA, China and Japan. In the first half of 2011, Austrian exports to South Korea increased by a remarkable 52.4%. South Korea is a promising market for Austrian export business; the potential is great, especially in everything to do with the “green economy” and renewable energies. South Korea recently concluded a free trade agreement with the EU, and Austrian companies are sure to benefit from this major new opportunity.

Both countries are now organising an important series of bilateral cultural events. These will mark the 120th anniversary of the establishment of formal relations between Korea and Austria and the 50th anniversary of the resumption of these relations. “The Austria-Korea Year 2012/2013 will contribute much to further deepening bilateral relations in the cultural and scientific spheres. I am particularly happy to see that a centre of Korean culture is to be opened in Vienna in this anniversary year. The access road to the new Korea House will – most aptly – be named after Austrian born Franziska Donner who was Korea’s first First Lady”, Spindelegger explained. The organisers of the Austria-Korea Year 2012/2013 include among other institutions the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the Korean Embassy in Austria and the Korea Foundation. They are planning a series of events ranging from music performances and a film festival to an exchange programme for artists and a Korean Food Festival.

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