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Sri Lanka is grateful to South Korea – Daya

Minister Daya Gamage says Sri Lanka is very grateful to South Korea for her readiness assist the government‘s endeavors to consolidate democracy, reconciliation and development.

He says, “We are enhancing our partnership with Korea and promote our country as a very attractive investment destination.”

The minister was delivering a speech at the Korean film festival in Colombo recently.

Text of the speech:

Dear Friends

It is a pleasure to be here with you all, this evening to participate and view the Korean film screened, to commence the Korean Film festival, as part of the Korean Cultural Week organized to mark the 40 year- long Sri Lanka –Republic of Korea diplomatic relationship.

Sri Lanka and Republic of Korea (South Korea) established diplomatic relations in the yet 1977, November 14 with a view to strengthen bilateral relations for mutual understanding and benefit.

Looking back at the four decade long relationship South Korea- the Korea Republic, Sri Lanka is very grateful to South Korea for her readiness assist the Government‘s endeavors to consolidate democracy, reconciliation and development. We are enhancing our partnership with Korea and promote our country as a very attractive investment destination.

Apparel, Sri Lanka’s top export item right now , accounts for 34 per cent goes to Korea and is followed by Ceylon Tea, rubber, rubber –based products, spices ,gems, diamonds and jewelry. We are also the producer of cinnamon in large quantity; 85 percent of the world supply. There is potential for more trade is present in the information-communication technology, business process outsourcing, seafood and fisheries products, flowers, fruits and vegetables.

I am glad to state here that the Primary Industries Ministry I shoulder responsibility, assigned with the duty of improving our trade-relationship in respect of the some of the items just mentioned. We are also happy to record that our country is the second-highest recipient of official development assistance from Korea, out of the 52 countries, that do so.

We are also conscious of the fact that Korea remains a major source of foreign direct investment in our country with more than 70 companies operating here while providing employment to our youth.

In the recent past we have seen,’ the now generation’ showing keen interest in the Korean culture and the language. The film that we are about to see, would increase the interest and would lead to a healthier relationship between the two countries and people of both countries at large.

The cultural week organized by the Korean Embassy in response to the growing interest with the popular “Korean Wave” and events of this nature, I am confident would deepen further our relationship.

Thank you very much for your kind invitation to grace the occasion as your chief guest this evening at the Opening ceremony of the ‘Korean Film Festival’ that would further enhance our friendship and mutual understanding.

South Korea is a homogenous country with almost all inhabitants identifying themselves ethnically Korean and speaking the Korean language. Although one time it was identified as 12th densely populated country, in the world, now it is recorded as a country with very low birth rate, and that seems to have turned out to be one of the major problems of this century. The country is male dominated and majority of the population live in the urban surroundings.

While the country claimed to be of Korean alone, we learn that, there is a very significant number of non-Koreans working in Korea and they come from countries like Mongolia, China and also from Southeast Asia, in addition to the very strong presence of the American Military Personnel stationed covering the entire country and giving special attention to the area near DMZ.

Korean history records that during the times of Joseon dynasty strict form of Confucianism was the dominant philosophy, the country adhered to, and there was a very rigid hierarchy, at it was the norm of the day. That system divided people into categories and the King was at the apex, then his elite officials and warriors, a very small middle class of merchants followed by a vast population of peasants and slaves.

According to Korean Culture, men are superior to women, educated to the uneducated, and everyone was assigned to a particular task in line with class he occupies in the hierarchical order and any one failing to fall-in-line of the day had to face very severe consequences.

While the Joseon Dynasty ceased to exist in 1910, its legacy lives on in Korean culture: education and hard work are valued above all else, and women still struggle for equal treatment.

Korea has a significant number of Christians (26%) and Buddhists (26%). Some 46% of the country professes to follow no particular religion. Koreans are of the view that they as a nation, stands out from the rest of the Asians culture, owing to their cuisine, the language and the Hangeul script.

The world at large see the Koreans extremely modern in their very outlook, they possess a well-developed art and architecture and they are seen as a people with a knack for stylish interior design. They are also in possession of a very vibrant film industry.

Turning the pages of Korea film industry we read that the

Korea’s, first movie theater, Dongdaemun Motion Picture Studio, was opened in 1903 and the Dansung-sa Theater was opened in Seoul in November 1907.

Before the creation of a domestic film industry, films imported from Europe and the United States were shown in Korean theaters. Korea’s first sound film was Lee Myeong-woo’s 1935 Chunhyang-jeon.

The sound technique of this film was reportedly poor, but Korean audiences appreciated hearing their own language in the cinema.

The number of films produced increased during the latter part of the decade. Na Woon-gyu began making a larger number of films again with significant works like Kanggnneo maeul (1935) and Oh, Mong-nyeo(1937), before his premature death in the year 1937.

The sound technique of this film was reportedly poor, but Korean audiences appreciated hearing their own language in the cinema. We may not understand your language but your human expression are common to humanity and we would be in a position to understand what you convey via the films we are fortunate to view during this film week.

Friends enjoy the film week and let us look for the day the two countries celebrate the golden anniversary of the diplomatic relationship.

The Korean Film festival is held with a view to give an opportunity to us sri Lankans to have deeper understanding of Korean Culture and society through the medium of contemporary films.

Today you will enjoy viewing the film “My Brilliant Life” dealing with a story of the youngest parents with the oldest child.

Have a pleasant evening and enjoy the film.

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