|Prospect of Tehran-Seoul ties is bright: South Korean ambassador||
TEHRAN – The South Korean Ambassador to Tehran, Song Woong-Yeob, says the prospect of relations between Tehran and Seoul is bright.
“The two countries have ‘potential’ for mutual cooperation and, in the long run, have a bright future for their relationship,” Song told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
The interview comes as South Korea and Iran are marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties on October 23.
Following is the text of interview:
Q: Iran and South Korea are marking their 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties on the 23rd of October. Congratulations! What is your assessment about the current bilateral relationship between the two countries?
A: I think that since South Korea and Iran established diplomatic relationship in 1962, they have made good achievements in various fields in spite of the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and the recent sanctions situation. Among others, trade, human interactions, and cultural exchange are on the positive list. However, in the framework of international politics surrounding the Iranian nuclear issue, there have been certain limitations for the furtherance of political relationship between the two countries in recent years. I think that it is an undesirable reality and should be solved with the normalization of Iranian issues.
Q: Speaking of ‘limitations’, how do you see the future between the two countries. What kinds of challenges will be likely to block the road of development between Iran and South Korea?
A: The two countries have ‘potential’ for mutual cooperation and, in the long run, have a bright future for their relationship. However, I think it will be more genuine and desirable relationship when it is based not on ‘necessity’ but on ‘respect’. Also, balanced relationship in every sector is better than one inclined to trade and energy. On the other hand, in Iran, Korea is known positively as a nation of ‘Yang-gom’ and ‘Ju-mong’, two popular TV characters. However, in Korea, the image of Iran is vague and even negative in some sense. It must be addressed too. Above all, bilateral relationship between Korea and Iran will be full-fledged only after the current challenges with which Iran is faced come to an end.
Q: Recently, South Korea resumed importing Iranian oil. What do you think about the possibility of cooperation in the economic field?
A: I think oil trade is the backbone of business relationship between the two countries. Iranians buy Korean products in exchange for their oil. This trade pattern is mutually beneficial for the peoples of the two nations. Of course, recently, Korean companies are feeling more business insecurity due to international sanctions against Iran. However, I believe that Iran and Iranians will wisely overcome their challenge. Winter’s gone, spring comes. I would like to see ‘future’ rather than ‘present’ of Iran and expect a better relationship in economic field.
Q: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties, what is your message to both governments and peoples?
A: Fifty years ago, both nations exchanged their pledges to become each other’s friend. I think during half a century, the two sides have kept their promise in the faithful manner. In fact, Korea and Iran exchanged their pre-diplomatic intercourse about 1,400 years ago in Sassanid Persia. A book touching upon this ancient story of the two sides’ meeting is ‘Kush-nameh’. I wish the two peoples, like their ancestors, cherish and develop this long tradition of friendship as long as possible beyond this millennium.
Q: Lastly, as a new ambassador what is your goal and plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties in this year?
A: I was accredited to Tehran early September. Taking this opportunity, I would like to send my warmest regards to my fellow Iranians. Once again, I stress a large potential between the two countries in their relationship. I am not sure whether I can become a good ambassador. Yet, I can give you my word that I will be a good friend of Iran. I think it is my mission to pave the way for a better 50 years between the two countries than the previous 50 years. The Korean embassy has been preparing for various cultural events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties. The embassy already held “Persia Myths Tour for Resident Koreans” and “Korean Food Festival”. Also, “Korean Speaking Contest”, “Korean Cinema Week”, “Tae-kwon-do Road Show” will be scheduled to take place in December. Through these events, I hope that Korea and Koreans will be one step closer and friendlier to my friends Iranians. Thank you.
Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay in touch and receive all of TT updates right in your feed reader
|Last Updated on 22 October 2012 17:58|