Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Republic of Korea

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2010 overview of the Czech Republic - the Republic of Korea ties

With an increasing number of Korean tourists visiting the Czech Republic(60-80 thousand/year), direct flights betweenIncheonandPrague(3-4 times/week) as well as increasing number of Korean delegations arriving in Prague, the mutual relations in many fields are flourishing.In 2010, the Republic of Korea confirmed its position of the 4th biggest trade partner of the Czech Republic among the non-European countriesand left behind even such countries as Turkey and Ukraine. The Republic of Korea is also the 4th biggest investor into the Czech economy since 1993 with 7 per cent share of all foreign investment.

Increasing number of cultural and promotional activities, majority of them on commercial basis, are increasingly important factor in Czech-Korean relations. Students´ and professors´ exchanges are also on increase with more than 20 different cooperationa agreeements signed betwee Czech and Korean universities.

Visitsby representatives of the Czech Republic

·21-25 March 2010 – visit to Seoul, Yongin and Panumnjeom by sSenator J. Dienstbier as the special envoy of the mMinister of fForeignaAffairs of the Czech Republic on the occasion of the 20thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations;

·11-15 May 2010 – working visit to Seoul and Busan by Minister for European Affairs J. Chmiel;

·3-9 September 2010 – working visit to Seoul, Changwon and Hwaseong by Vice President  of the Senate of theParliamentof the Czech RepublicJ. Šneberger with a delegation of the Constitutional and Legal Committee led by sSenator J. Kubera.

Visits by representatives of the Republic of Korea

·15-16 January 2010 – visit by the Committee forLegislation and Judiciary Committeeof theNational Assembly;

·6-8 March 2010 – visit by the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly;

·13-15 March 2010 – visit by the Committee forLegislation and Judiciary Committeeof the National Assembly led by its chairman Yu Seong-hoLew Seon Ho;

·20-24 May 2010 – visit by President of the Constitutional Court Lee Kang-Kook;

·19-22 June2010 – visit by Lee Soon-Chochun, Chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Relations and National Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the occasion of the1stCzech-Korean Science and Technologytific Seminar Forum;

·6-7 July 2010 – visit  by thePresident of the Academy of Korean Studies Kim Jeong-ungbae;

·15-17 July 2010 – visit by the e Committee for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Committeeof the National Assembly led by its chairman Choi In- Kee;

·6-8 August 2010 – visit by a delegation of the Czech Republic–Republic of-KoreaFriendship Association of the Group of Friends of the National Assembly;

·25-28 August 2010 – visit by Vice Speaker of the National Assembly Hong Jae-hyong.

Economic relations    

The Republic of Korea is the Czech Republic’s fourth biggest trading partner outside Europe (behind PRChina, the USA and Japan). It has been the fourth biggest investor in the Czech economy since 1993 (behind Germany, the USA and Japan) and a significant source of incoming tourism (between 60,000 and 80,000 visitors a year).

According to Czech statistics, Iin 2010 the Czech Republic’s foreign trade turnover with the Republic of Korea increased by 37.69% from CZK 31,651 mbillion in 2009 to CZK 43,581 mbillion in 2010. Exports increased by 1.48% (from CZK 5,066mbillion in 2009 to CZK 5,141 mbillion in 2010) and imports increased by 44.59% (from CZK 26,585mbillion to CZK 38,440 mbillion).The foreign trade balance for 2010 was CZK –33,299 mbillion.

The Czech Republic’s principal export commodities: pumps, toys, copper waste, heavy engineering products, electrical equipment components, spare parts for transport equipment.

The Czech Republic’s principal import commodities: consumer electrical equipment and components thereof, passenger cars and spares thereof.

Cultural relations

In the first full year of the Czech Info Centre’s operation, situatedin a building that is a copy of Prague’s Old Town Hall in Seoul there were heldexhibitionsof photographs by J. Turek calledWoman and the City, of the history of mutual relations The Story of Czech-Korean Contacts, of glass artby J. Plesl and designs ofPrague-based Jiwon ShinConnecting Seoul and Prague,literary exhibition Franz Kafka and Prague and a number of one-offsmallevents.At the initiative of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Seoul there was an exhibition of garnet and contemporary jewellery entitledLovers from Prague held inintheWorld Jewellery Museum, an exhibition of works by illustrator Z. Miler and children’s books entitled Here Comes the KRTEK in the National Library of Literature forChildren and Young Adults, an exhibition of Czech photographs of Africa by L. Taylor entitledThe InnocentsandHope of Africa inthe Yeongwol AfricanArt Museum (Yeongwol)and at Global Village of the Korea International Cooperation Agency(KOICA), an exhibition of photographs by J. Turek at Gallery Lou, at Inje University (Gimhae) and Museum of Art of Kyungpook National University Museum(Daegu, concurrently with Czech Press Photo).Exhibitions about the history of mutual relations were held at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Yongin) and Inje University (Gimhae); exhibitions about the fall of the Iron Curtain were installed at Sungkyunkwan University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Yongin).

Confirming the popularity of Czech classicalmusicin the Republic of Korea, the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestray,soloists ofthe State Opera Prague, the Bennetwitz Quartet, the ZemlinskýyQuartet, the children’s choirs Boni Pueri, Severáček and Danaj and the men’s choir Gentlemen Signngers all undertook tours of the country. The Seoul Oratorio ensemble continued to promote the music of A. Dvořák with a big concert in the renowned Seoul Arts Center marking the20thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations; it also announced the results of the 1st Dvořák iInternationalAntonín Dvořák cCompositioncCompetition (together with the Prague Conservatory and the A. DvořákmMemorial). The best Korean classicalmusicalc ensemble, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, performed the complete cycle of symphonic poems My Countryby B. Smetana, conducted by J. Hruůša.

Czechmusicalsareisalso successfulon Korean stages, with Korean adaptations made of.V. Paetejdl’sJack the Ripper, M.BartákDavid’sThe Three Musketeers and Z. Barták’sChristmas Carol, were once more adapted at Korean stages. For the fourth time singersM. Irglová and G. Hansard toured the Republic of Korea.

Atheatreperformance of V. Havel’s play Leaving, with the original cast and set design of the Archa tTheatre, took place at the LG Arts Center. The National Marionette Theatre also toured the Republic of Korea.

One of the biggest international filmfestivals, the 15thBPusan International Film Festival (PIFF), featured a section of six recent films called Czech Film Now: Cinema of Liberalism, which was prepared by the Czech Film Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Seoul. The Zlín fFilmfFestival initiated an animated section called Fantastic, Czech! Aat the 4thSeoul International Family FilmFestivalof Family Films (SIFFF).The filmCzech Dreamby V. Klusák and F. Remunda won the main prize at the Korean DMZ Documentary Festival DMZ (demilitarized zone) documentary film festival etc. Czech films were also screened at the AISFFsiana International Short Film FestivalandPiFan festivalsPuchon International Fantastic Film Festival.

New Korean translations of books by Czech authors were publishedCzechliteraturewere published:War with the Newts by K.Čapek,Leavingby V. Havel, the memoirs of “Eskymo” Welzl, a number of books for children and young people (e.g. by P. Sís), the first storiestranslated stories bby A. Lustig. O. Neff et alwere also translatedinto Korean.

The Embassy of the Czech Republic in Seoul awarded the mMedal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for the promotion of Czech-Korean relations to journalist Cho SeongKwon-kwan(the author of the book Geniae of Prague), to diplomat Son Jun-young, the first Ambassador of the Republic of Korea in Prague, the professors and founders of Czech studies in the Republic of Korea Kim Kyuchin and Kwon Jeae-il and to the departing Ambassador, Head of the EU delegationof the EU in the Republic of Korea Brian McDonald for co-organising the firstseparatesingle-standingEU-KRRoKsummit during the Czech Republic’s pPresidency of the Council of the EU.

Relations between universities are developing, with more thantena dozenCzech universities having signed agreements with partner institutions in Seoul and other cities. Several students and teachers from both countries are currently on exchange programmes. TheEmbassy of theCzech Republic took part in the “Study and Research in Europe”tradefair.There are currently 120 students studying at the department of Czech and Slovak studies of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.