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'Cross-cultural exchanges crucial to Mexico-Korea ties'

By Sanjay Kumar

Published : Sept. 19, 2023 - 10:47

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Mexico's ambassador to Korea, Carlos Penafiel Soto, delivers remarks at Mexico’s 213th anniversary of independence from Spain at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald) Mexico's ambassador to Korea, Carlos Penafiel Soto, delivers remarks at Mexico’s 213th anniversary of independence from Spain at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

Mexico's ambassador to Korea, Carlos Penafiel Soto, underlined people-to-people connections and the mutual exchange of knowledge as the linchpin of Mexico-Korea ties, marking Mexico’s 213th anniversary of independence from Spain on Wednesday.

Mexico declared its independence from Spain in 1810.

Noting bilateral strategic partnerships and political dialogue that were developed over six decades, Soto highlighted recent bilateral trade between Mexico and Korea that hit $30 billion in 2022, despite the absence of a formal trade agreement.

Guests pose for a group photo with Mexico's ambassador to Korea, Carlos Penafiel Soto(third from left) at Mexico's 213th anniversary of independence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald) Guests pose for a group photo with Mexico's ambassador to Korea, Carlos Penafiel Soto(third from left) at Mexico's 213th anniversary of independence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

"More than 2,000 companies registered with Korean capital are established in Mexico," Soto said.

Revisiting Mexico’s first contact with Korea, he mentioned the arrival of Korean immigrants to Yucatan, engraved in the narrative of bilateral relations.

Meanwhile, delivering remarks at the event, Kang Jae-kwon, deputy minister of economic affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, remembered the role of Father Miguel Hidalgo in demanding the independence of Mexico through "Grito de Dolores," or the Cry of Dolores, which began on Sept. 16, 1810, to resist inequality and poverty stemming from the colonial occupation.

Artists perform Mexican traditional dance at Mexico's 213th anniversary of independence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald) Artists perform Mexican traditional dance at Mexico's 213th anniversary of independence at the Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul, on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

"Korea also suffered from a colonial period," recalled Kang, highlighting the shared history of fighting for independence and liberation against oppression.

Kang cited Mexico as Korea’s largest trading partner in Latin America, with an annual bilateral trade volume reaching $21.3 billion in 2022.

He hoped that the beginning of Korea-Mexico free trade agreement negotiations would further upgrade economic ties.

Mexico’s 202nd anniversary of independence from Spain at Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald) Mexico’s 202nd anniversary of independence from Spain at Four Seasons Hotel in Jung-gu, Seoul on Wednesday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

More than 430 Korean companies, such as Samsung Electronics, Kia and LG Electronics, among others, are established in Mexico and are contributing to economic and community development, as well as job creation, emphasized Kang.

According to the Mexican Embassy in Seoul, Mexico and Korea share common positions and interests in the international and regional stages on multilateralism, pursuit of peace, sustainable development, fight against climate change, promotion of free and fair trade, and the protection of human rights.