|Slovak Ambassador to South Korea Dusan Bella (second from right) and his wife Eugenia Bellova (third from right) pose for a photo with folk band Gypsy Devils during a reception in Seoul on Wednesday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)|
South Korean ties with Slovakia and, indeed with Europe broadly, changed qualitatively during Bella’s five-year posting here.
Since his arrival in October 2009, bilateral trade has doubled to $5.2 billion in 2013 and Slovakia has become a crucial export and manufacturing platform for South Korean automobiles and other items into Europe. He highlighted his country’s ties with South Korea and its membership in the EU.
“South Korea is now a major Asian investor in Slovakia and the second-biggest trade partner of my country in Asia,” Bella said during a special reception promoting Slovak food and culture in Seoul on Wednesday.
“Slovakia is hosting more than 90 Korean companies,” he said, adding that the Central European country is South Korea’s fourth-largest trade partner in the EU.
In his five years as ambassador here, South Korea also became a political and economic “strategic partner” of the European Union. Including South Korea, the EU has only 10 such partnerships around the world. The others are: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United States.
Culture was also highlighted in the reception. The Slovak folk band Gypsy Devils, which toured South Korea from Monday to Friday, performed during the reception in Seoul.
“Being in this beautiful country for more than five years, I have to admit that South Korea is no longer a land of morning calm, but rather a modern, dynamic country with a vibrant economy and pulsating everyday life,” Bella said.