Ambassador of South Korea Hong Jin-wook plays saxophone at his farewell party. Photo by Reham El-Adawi
At a press conference before the event, Ambassador Jin-wook, who took office in 2020, expressed gratitude to Egyptian journalists for their contributions in fostering Egypt-Korea relations and promoting a positive image of Korea among the Egyptian people.
He emphasized the importance of building closer ties between South Korea and the Egyptian people with the assistance of the Egyptian media and colleagues at the Korean embassy and the Korean Cultural Centre.
"I am not sure yet about my upcoming post but I have heard that I will be taking on a significant role in serving my country within the region."
Addressing the attendees in fluent Arabic, Ambassador Jin-wook said, "It feels like I just arrived in Cairo and greeted all of you yesterday, but it is hard to believe that nearly three years have passed by so quickly, has it not? That is why it is difficult for me to bid farewell to all of you now."
"I have been very pleased during these past three years. The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic problems could not stand in the way of the friendship between Egypt and Korea. The relations between our two countries have become even better," he added.
Economic & tourism cooperation
Trade exchange between Egypt and Korea increased by about 40 percent in 2022.
Moreover, Egyptian exports to Korea increased by around 161 percent in the same year.
The two countries have been producing "Made in Egypt" television sets, washing machines, tablets and mobile phones.
"In the past months, more Koreans have started visiting Egypt again after the lowering of the Korean travel advisory on Egypt post-pandemic," he said.
"I think that direct flights between Korea and Egypt will resume soon. Many Koreans are now planning to travel to Egypt to see not only the beautiful nature in Hurghada, Sharm El-Sheikh and Dahab but also to visit the historical sites like the pyramids, Luxor and Aswan."
"Moreover, there are many Koreans learning Arabic - and the number of Muslims and mosques in Korea is increasing more and more," he added.
South Korean ambassador Hong Jin-wook at Ramadan iftar in in Al-Mataria (photo by Reham El-Adawi)
Egyptian interest in Korean culture
Egyptians are showing growing interest in Korean culture, language, dramas, movies and food.
The Korean language is now being taught at Sohag University and Kafr El-Sheikh University, Ain Shams University and Aswan University.
The number of students at the Sejong Institute has increased more than tenfold.
"Cooperation between the two countries increased in the last three years. The president of Korea and the speaker of the Korean parliament visited Egypt. Also, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the new Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, spoke on the phone more than once."
Ambassador of South Korea Hong Jin-wook with Korean food expert Thoria Gamal (photo by Reham El-Adawi )
"What I am most proud of is that Koreans and Egyptians who are present here treat each other with respect and hope that both countries will develop together in the future."
"Egypt is a beautiful country with a rich history and its future will be bright. It has intelligent young people like you. I believe that Egypt will be one of the countries in the G20 before 2050."
"As they say, whoever drinks from the Nile must return to it. I am confident that I will return to Egypt soon it will remain forever in my heart."
At the end of the event, Ambassador Hong surprised his guests by playing on saxophone the national anthem of Egypt Belady Belady, accompanied by an Egyptian oud player.