The Republic of Korea (ROK) has announced a donation of US$120,000 to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund during this year, the 40th year of its diplomatic relations with St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Ambassador at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (also accredited to SVG), Sung Moon-Up, made this announcement at a cocktail at Grenadine House last Friday, May 17.
He prefaced his announcement with the assurance that the ROK values development cooperation “high on its agenda.”
This donation “will be used to source computers, books, and other learning materials for school children in rural areas,” he informed those present, which included dignitaries such as the Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday and his wife Kathryn, Senators Israel Bruce and Kay Bacchus-Baptiste.
Minister Camillo Gonsalves, who has responsibility for the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, responded in his speech, “We’re extremely grateful that the Government and people of Korea see it fit this year to make a contribution of $120,000 to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund, which is a growing attempt to address inequalities in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and to eradicate both poverty in accordance with our shared commitment to the sustainable development goals.”
At the cocktail to mark this milestone in the bilateral relationship between the two countries, the Ambassador and Gonsalves delivered speeches reflecting on the 40 years past.
Sung noted that “fortunately” the ROK was one of the first countries with which SVG established diplomatic relations following the attainment of Independence on October 27, 1979.
“As the years went on, our countries have managed to further solidify our friendship in numerous fields of development cooperation, high level exchanges and diplomatic support in global forums,” he continued.
“Now with 40 successful years behind us, … I am very confident that with good will, hard work, and mutual understanding our relationship will continue to flourish in the decades to come,” he stated.
Gonsalves informed that over these years, “the Government and people of South Korea have provided invaluable assistance in areas of technical cooperation, capacity building, education, health, technology and innovation.”
He explained that the ROK represents the interest of SVG in global forums that they do not have membership, such as the G20 (Group of 20), “and the rule making power of the G20 and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) affects in many ways the development aspirations of us here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
The Minister disclosed that SVG is “extremely proud” to call the ROK their “friend,” and expressed hope that this friendship will only become deeper in the coming years.
To commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations with SVG, the ROK planned to host two cultural events. One of these events, “Soul Beat Korea” took place last Saturday, May 18, at the Community College auditorium, and saw a full program of performances by professional Korean artists.
Secondly, Sung stated that, at a yet undecided date later this year, select Korean films will be shown to the public.
Gifts were exchanged on the night, with the ROK presenting a miniature of a Gilt-Bronze Incense burner of Beakje Kingdom, which was thought to be used at royal ceremonies. SVG gifted a framed picture showing persons celebrating, which was made from a collage of banana leaves.