It is a rare case for the two Embassies in Seoul to celebrate their National Day at the same time at one place.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Independent Czechoslovakia as a common state of Czechs and Slovaks, Czech Amb. Tomas Husak & Slovak Amb. Milan Lajciak shed light on current bilateral relations between Czech Republic & the Slovak Republic and last but not least further between Korea & the two Eastern Europe countries by throwing a dinner reception held in a downtown hotel Seoul on Oct. 30th evening.
In 1918, the yearning of many Czechs and Slovaks for life in a common, sovereign state became reality. Czechoslovakia, a new republic on the map of Europe, took its first step with hope on the journey through history and soon won international respect and recognition. 2018, a century has just passed since the events of the time. The map of Europe has changed many times in this period. The borders of their countries have also changed. In spite of this, the year 1918 remains a breakthrough year in our modern history, said the two envoys during the ceremony.
During this past century together, the Czechs and Slovaks have been witness to many great stories that will always hold a special place in their history. It all began in 1918, when both nations’ shared desire for a sovereign state became a reality.
Newly elected Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, a philosopher, educator and a genuine state-maker, deserves the greatest credit for the creation of a common state and is worthy of the title president – liberator. Another important milestone that is a great source of pride for Czechs and Slovaks is the so-called Prague Spring of 1968 when, seeking liberation and escape from dictatorship, the movement was forcibly ended by the invasion and occupation of the Warsaw Pact troops.
And last but not least, it is 1993, when Czechoslovakia was, in a cultured and peaceful way, divided into two new, completely sovereign states within an integrating Europe. It was a peaceful divorce appreciated by the entire civilised world.
The history continues, but the Czechs and Slovaks are still close. In the best sense of the word, they can be proud of their time side by side and boldly commemorate the stormy, joyful and even tragic events today. Famous figures that, by their way of thinking, moved Czechoslovakia forward represent an inspiration for the 21st century.
For reference of our readers, The NDNnews(www.ndnnews.co.kr) inserts Czech Amb. Tomas Husak’s contribution article. –Ed.
October 28th, we are celebrating the National Day of the Czech Republic. On this occasion, I would like to introduce my homeland to you, a country in the heart of Europe, known for its dynamic development, skilled people, rich historical heritage and beautiful landscape.
The history of the Czech state goes back to more than 1,000 years as the first genuine state to be established in the 9th century. Since then, the Czechs have witnessed glorious moments of history, especially during the reign of the Czech King and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in the 14th century, when Prague became an intellectual and cultural centre of Europe. 100 years ago Czechoslovakia declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, becoming an independent state. Although Czechoslovakia was peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, we Czechs still mark October 28th as the date in which the ambitions for a modern independent state were finally realized. The Czech Republic, as the successor of Czechoslovakia, commemorates the same National Day.
The Czech Republic appreciates and values very highly the friendly relations that it enjoys today with the Republic of Korea. It tries to develop and expand them further in all possible fields and dimensions.
Economic and trade cooperation between the Czech Republic and South Korea does not have long history. Before the year 1990 only some South Korean electronics under the Goldstar brand (now LG) and Daewoo (today GM Korea) passenger cars were sold on the Czech market and our bilateral trade amounted to just few millions USD. This volume was completely negligible in the context of Czech overall foreign trade. Last year, the volume of bilateral trade exceeded USD 5 billion. And Korea is becoming one of our most important strategic partners.
Korea plays important role as investor to the Czech Republic. I am very proud that all Korean investment projects to our country were successful and Korean “Czech Made” products like Hyundai cars are sold all over Europe. Our state organization Czechinvest Agency Soul is ready to grant its help for this kind of activities.
The Czech Republic and the Republic of Korea share also common interests in culture and education. There is a long tradition in learning about Korea language at Charles University in Prague, where first Faculty of Korean Studies was opened in 1948. At that time it was the only Korean Faculty in Europe teaching Korean (besides Korean studies taught in Russia). I am happy that new Centre of Korean Studies at the Palacký University in Olomouc was opened last year. There is a fruitful cooperation and exchange of hundreds of students between number of Czech and Korean Universities too.
are very glad that we have our Cultural Czech Centre in Seoul as the only Central European cultural institute in Korea. Czech Centres are a contributory organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, established to promote the Czech Republic abroad. The Czech Centre Seoul organizes exhibitions, workshops, festivals and wide exchange of cultural activities.
A country of fairy tales, preserved history and culture – this is the way Koreans mostly see the romantic city of PRAGUE and the Czech Republic. No wonder it has become a major destination and was visited by more than 430 thousand Korean tourist last year. Our CzechTourism office in Seoul, which is another state founded organization, can help to Korean tourist to select best way for their visit of our country.
Czech Republic is modern dynamic country, which has a lot to offer in tourism, education, culture, trade and at number of the other spheres of interest.