The Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to Lebanon, Young Dae Kwan, stated during an interview he gave to Journalist Rita Wakim, in شخصية UP مع ريتا program, that he seeks to strengthen the Korean-Lebanese relations. He also addressed aspects of the relationship between Korea and Lebanon at the embassy level and the challenges that faced during the Corona pandemic, as well as the culture and civilization of his ancient country, in addition to announcing the celebration that will be held in September, the fortieth anniversary of the Korean-Lebanese relations.
1) After being appointed in Lebanon, two years ago how do you describe the relation between Korea & Lebanon?
Korea and Lebanon have maintained strong ties in the various areas since we established diplomatic relations in 1981. Korean Battalion within the UNIFIL is the symbol of cooperation between both countries. Korean Battalion in Tyre have been supporting local people through the various activities and projects. So Korean soldiers were able to win the hearts and minds of local people. Now, we are deepening the bonds of cooperation in the area of health, agriculture and environment.
2) What were the most prominent contacts and networking you have built in Beirut?
I am happy that I have met many outstanding people in Lebanon. Especially, it has been great opportunities to meet various people in the area of culture, education, economy and sports.
3) What were challenges you have faced during this two years journey besides covid-19 crisis that affected humanity?
The economic crisis and instability in politics are regrettable. I am saddened by the current situation. It will take some time to overcome the crisis but I try to see it in a positive way and we will do our best to support Lebanon to recover.
4) Can you introduce to all who are watching us today in our show شخصية UP مع ريتا Korea culture and tasty Asian food?
I would like to introduce Korea’s traditional costume. Men wear Jacket with trousers while women wear a Jacket and wrap around skirt. Costumes are colorful and gorgeous, a beautiful piece of broidery. Koreans wear the costumes on special occasions such as wedding, birthdays and Holidays.
As tasty food, I would like to introduce the fried chicken and beer with various types of sauces. Whenever we watch big sports events, Korean eat fried chicken.
5) Tell us please what made Korean rise economically?
Korea was among the poorest countries but in 1960’s it started its development plans and I think four elements have brought about the successful economic development. First a firm, stable leadership with a proper vision. Second, a well-organized economic development plans. Next, a competent bureaucracy to execute economic development plans. Finally, a good education system to provide an excellent workforce.
6) When we talk about Korea culture move in the world we have to mention the KPOP music and dance, movies and Korean showbiz trends, How a country’s popular culture, especially with the Korean wave, impact its destination image?
Korea’s popular culture has gained wide international attention since the mid 1990’s. Especially Korea’s K-POP sensation BTS. THE k-pop songs have several Key factors that make them unique. One of the most common forms of the K-POP is currently repetition of Joyous melodies and synchronized group dance. Now K-POP is currently something of mystery with dynamic music. So the Korean wave contribute to improve Korea’s national brand and image. There is also Korea wave fan club in Lebanon (K-Poppers). We have provided support for K-Poppers voluntary activities.
7) We cannot talk about Korea without highlighting its far eastern famous tasty cuisine: kimchi. Tell us about it and how families gather to prepare it for the whole year
When we think about Korean food, we always think about Kimchi. Kimchi ia a mixture of various pickled vegetables such as cabbage, radish, green onion and cucumber. Certain types of Kimchi are made spicy with the addition of chili pepper powder. In late November or early December, Korean families prepare enough Kimchi to last the harsh winter season. The Kimchi is stored in large clay jars partially buried to maintain temperature and retain flavor. Kimchi is a very healthy food. It reduces fat in your body and suppress cancerous cells.
8) What is Ambassador’s major role with his country community or Korean community residing in Lebanon?
The major role is to protect Korean nationals living in Lebanon. The key to preventing Koreans from any incidents is to raise their awareness on safety. So they do not expose themselves to precarious situations. The most effective way to do so is provide Korean community in Lebanon with essential information for safety through mobile phone and internet. The Korean embassy also provide the support for their activities here in Lebanon.
9) What are your future projects as Ambassador & Embassy ?
The year 2021 is special and important for both countries. We will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Lebanon. I will hold a variety of cultural event. We will invite Korean artists to Lebanon for a music concert. We will also hold film festivals.
These celebrations will be indeed a timely occasion to renew and further deepen the friendship between the two countries. This will also promote the mutual understanding between our two peoples.
10) What did you liked most about Lebanon and disliked the most?
Mostly, I like Lebanese people although we have different cultures and background. They are very affectionate, kind and emotional people. I also like the cultural heritage of Lebanon such as in Baalbeck, Byblos, Tyr etc. they give me wonder and inspiration. I like the food and especially the “Hommos”. Lebanon has a wonderful history and heritage I can’t think of any dislike, I love Lebanon and It is a great pleasure and honor for me to work in this beautiful country whatever the situation we are given, even during hard times and now we are living under a challenging time but Lebanon will overcome this situation.