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(Yonhap Interview) New Latvian ambassador hopes to arrange presidential visits

All News 08:00 January 27, 2016

By Lee Haye-ah

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- Latvia's new ambassador to South Korea voiced hope Wednesday that he would be able to arrange an exchange of visits between the two countries' presidents during his time here.

Amb. Peteris Vaivars took office this month as the Baltic nation's first resident ambassador to Seoul. Latvia opened an embassy here in September, becoming the first Baltic state to do so.

"I would like to organize an exchange of visits by both presidents and bring our cooperation to the highest possible level," the envoy said in a written interview with Yonhap News Agency, noting that the regular term for a Latvian ambassador is four years. "While actively working in the field of business promotion, I will be introducing Korean companies to opportunities for operating and investing in Latvia and also introduce high quality Latvian products we are proud of to the Korean market."

The two countries established diplomatic ties in October 1991, a month after joining the United Nations on the same day. Bilateral relations have developed steadily since then, leading to a number of high-level visits from both sides but none by their presidents.

Vaivars, who served as a non-resident ambassador to Seoul from 2007-2013, urged South Korean businesses to invest in Latvia's transport, storage, IT and research and development sectors.

"Latvia is ideally located to serve as a hub of creating and testing new products produced by Korean companies at a short distance from the main sales markets in the EU and its eastern neighborhood," he said.

The ambassador noted similarities between the two countries, with one being an "Asian tiger" and the other a "Baltic tiger" in terms of their economic growth.

"We share similar values and attitudes about working hard and reaching out and so it is quite natural for Latvia to be taking steps to actively promote closer relations with strong, like-minded partners such as Korea," he said. "My top priority will be to enhance our economic relations by promoting trade, business contacts, mutual understanding and cooperation."

Although the Latvian population in South Korea is small, many of them have already contacted the embassy, Vaivars said, adding that tourism will be another area of cooperation he will focus on.


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