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Gorgeous Geoje offers weekend paradise to diplomats

Herald Media CEO-Publisher Lee Young-man (first row fourth from left), honorary chairman Namgoong Won (seventh from left) and Geoje Mayor Kwon Min-ho (sixth from right) join diplomats and their spouses ahead of The Korea Herald’s 17th Ambassadorial Golf Tournament on Geoje Island on Friday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Herald Media CEO-Publisher Lee Young-man (first row fourth from left), honorary chairman Namgoong Won (seventh from left) and Geoje Mayor Kwon Min-ho (sixth from right) join diplomats and their spouses ahead of The Korea Herald’s 17th Ambassadorial Golf Tournament on Geoje Island on Friday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Korea Herald’s Ambassadorial Golf Tournament transports envoys to the Blue City


The sun shone for the Korea Herald’s 17th Ambassadorial golf tournament on Geoje Island on Friday.

Diplomats from 13 countries joined newspaper executives and Geoje officials to enjoy a two-day stay on Korea’s second largest island.

Many enjoyed playing a round of golf at the new De Beach golf club, overlooking the ocean from every tee.

The ambassadors of India, Morocco, Spain, Slovakia, Malaysia and Vietnam enjoyed the course along with New Zealand deputy head of mission Daniel Mellsop and Czech head of economic and commercial mission Milos Sklenka. 

Diplomats and Herald Media executives pose before a round of golf amid stunning scenery at De Beach golf club on Geoje Island for The Korea Herald’s 17th Ambassadorial golf tournament, Friday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Diplomats and Herald Media executives pose before a round of golf amid stunning scenery at De Beach golf club on Geoje Island for The Korea Herald’s 17th Ambassadorial golf tournament, Friday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Herald Media president Lee Young-man, managing director Kim Gwan-seon, honorary chairman Namgoong Won, managing editor Chon Shi-young and department manager Lee Soo-gon joined the diplomats for the game. Senior director of eBay Korea Chun Hang-il also played, with his company being one of the event sponsors.

Diplomats praised the course for being both beautiful and unique, if a little challenging at times.

First prize for the day went to Slovakian Ambassador Dusan Bella, second to New Zealand’s Daniel Mellsop and third place to Vietnamese Ambassador Tran Trong Toan at a special award ceremony held at the Geoje Samsung hotel after the game. 
Slovakian Ambassador Dusan Bella (right) accepts his award from Herald Media honorary chairman Namgoong Won following the Korea Herald Golf Tournament on Geoje Island on Friday.
Slovakian Ambassador Dusan Bella (right) accepts his award from Herald Media honorary chairman Namgoong Won following the Korea Herald Golf Tournament on Geoje Island on Friday.
Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias Romero (right) accepts the prize of a golf club from Herald Media president Lee Young-man.
Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias Romero (right) accepts the prize of a golf club from Herald Media president Lee Young-man.

Indian Ambassador Vishnu Prakash for the closest shot while Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias-Romero took the award for the longest shot.

Plaques and high-quality clubs were dished out as prizes.

Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Chraibi said: “We had a golf game in a unique golf course. I have to say that I have been playing in many golf courses in Korea, but this time I have to confess that this is truly the best course I have ever seen.”

And Spanish Ambassador Luis Arias-Romero said: “I can say it was one of the best courses I have played in my life. It was a very well-planned golf course with splendid landscaping.”

He added: “I am very surprised with this island. I don’t know why, but I never thought there would be such a place in Korea. Now I have another image of the country.”



Heavenly gardens

Other ambassadors and spouses of diplomats who were not out for a game of golf enjoyed a scenic trip to Oedo Botania. They took a boat ride to the famous gardens located on Oe Island, which was developed over 30 years by the late Lee Chang-ho. Lee made his money in Dongdaemun’s clothing and textiles industry after crossing the 38th Parallel from North to South Korea during the Korean War.

Following his investment, the once-bare island’s features now include a replica of a garden to be found in England’s Buckingham Palace and a French villa overlooking the sea, where parts of hit Korean drama Winter Sonata were shot.

Ambassadors and spouses from the Czech Republic, Poland, Turkey, India, the Dominican Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania enjoyed the island paradise on Friday afternoon.

“My wife and I really enjoyed it a lot,” Turkish Ambassador Naci Saribas said. “It really makes you think how a deserted island can be converted into such a green place with different habitats from throughout the world to become like heaven.”

Spouse to the Spanish ambassador, Soledad Lavina also said she enjoyed the island trip.

“The way the landscape comes out of the water is very impressive, it is a very unique landscape and very beautiful.”

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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