|Singaporean Ambassador to South Korea Peter Tan (center) and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Park Byeong-seug (second from left) pose for a photo with The Singaporean-South Korean girl group SKarf during a reception celebrating Singapore’s 48th anniversary of its independence from Malaysia in Seoul on Thursday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)|
Singaporean Ambassador to South Korea Peter Tan put the bilateral ties between South Korea and the island city-state center stage during his country’s National Day celebration this year.
“It is not only about Singapore’s National Day. It is also about Singapore’s excellent relations with South Korea,” said Tan during welcome remarks at the 48th anniversary of Singapore’s independence from Malaysia during a reception in Seoul on Thursday.
Singapore officially celebrates its National Day on Aug. 9.
Bilateral ties between South Korea and Singapore are strong. They inked an FTA ― South Korea’s second ― that went into force in 2006. Singapore is South Korea’s seventh-largest trading partner with two-way trade at $41.6 billion in 2012.
Tan, a career diplomat, likened South Korean-Singaporean ties with a Korean golf game saying, “il-par-mah-par,” which means the person who gets par on Hole 1 automatically gives his or her partners par on that hole as well.
“This Korean phrase I grew to like and I share it with my friends sometimes, and I think Korean golfers will be very familiar with the phrase, too. So, going forward, I am sure Singapore and Korea will be each other’s ‘il-par-mah-par’ partners,” he said.
Among the VIPs were Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Park Byeong-seug, as well as CEOs of major corporations.