A Triple Celebration – Annual Dinner, 21st November 2013

Written by: Derek Marsh  |  Posted on: February 15th, 2014

Our Chairman thanks Sylvia Park and presents her with a bouquet

Our Chairman thanks Sylvia Park and presents her with a bouquet

Baroness Perry of Southwark again kindly hosted the Anglo-Korean Society Annual Dinner in the Cholmondeley Room and Terrace of the House of Lords. The Room and Terrace were filled to capacity with 120 members and guests.

The Dinner marked a triple celebration: the 130th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the UK, the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice with North Korea and the State Visit of President Park Geun-hye. The Korean Ambassador invited 30 guests to thank them for their help in organising the State Visit. Baroness Perry said that it had been a particular pleasure to welcome President Park when she spoke to both Houses of Parliament.

Our Chairman, Mr Warwick Morris, noted a number of distinguished guests including four former Ambassadors; four veterans; Mr Tony Dyson, architect of the new Korean War Memorial; representatives of the Sea Cadets and members of the British Korean Law Association. He wished our Joint President, Dr Robert Hawley, a speedy recovery. Mr Morris also welcomed the continued support of our sponsors, Diageo and BA, and hoped Samsung Fire and Marine and Samsung Electronics would also support our work. Diageo and BA donated door prizes which were won by two British civil servants who had helped coordinate the State Visit.

Mr Morris read out a message of greeting from Dr Jin Park, Executive President of our sister organisation in Korea, the Korea Britain Society. He went on to congratulate Dr Park, who holds a doctorate in political science from Oxford and is a former lecturer in politics at Newcastle University, on the award of an Honorary CBE in recognition of his services to UK Korea relations over the past 25 years.

Reviewing the past year’s events, our Chairman thanked the Director of the Korean Cultural Centre for allowing the Society the use of their facilities. The Society made £4000 in outreach grants to a number of people and organisations including veterans, sea cadets and the Love North Korean Children bakery. Finally, he thanked the AKS Committee for their work throughout the year.

Our first Guest Speaker, HE Sungnam Lim, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea, said that the State Visit came relatively soon, only 9 years, after the previous one, and showed the strength and importance of UK Korea relations. There was and continued to be a broad and creative partnership for peace and prosperity between the two countries. President Park had participated in the ground breaking ceremony for the Korean War Memorial. The UK was the only one of the 16 countries which had supported the United Nations who had not so far erected a memorial in our capital city. The Ambassador hoped the Society would gallop ahead in the New Year of the Horse and to help them forward to an even brighter future the Embassy was pleased to contribute £5000 to the Society’s Dinner and related costs.

Our second Guest Speaker was the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Mr Swire congratulated Ambassador Lim on the award of an Honorary KCVO and also on his recent marriage and hoped that The Ambassador and Mrs Sohn Jung-mi enjoyed their evening on the Thames-side terrace which he likened to a boat on the River Han.

Reviewing Anglo Korea relations, the Minister said the year had been hugely significant including the groundbreaking ceremony for the War Memorial which commemorated the 82,000 men and women who had served in Korea with the UN forces. The two countries had a very similar voting record at the UN reflecting their shared values of peace, security and prosperity and cooperated on many issues, as diverse as cybercrime and climate change. Trade, investment, education and research links continued to grow thus consolidating, deepening and diversifying the relationship. The Joint Economic Trade Committee and the UK ROK Global CEO Forum were launched this year. The Minister noted that President Park had marvelled at the British people who had created the new from the old and rediscovered the old in the new. He felt that there had been a step change in the relationship which was now even more productive and wide ranging. The UK and the Republic of Korea were the closest of partners and he praised the continuing strength of this partnership in Government, business and civil society and in the Anglo-Korean Society itself.

Drawing the Dinner to a close our Chairman thanked Baroness Perry and our Guest Speakers and Ambassador Lim for the Embassy’s donation. In particular, he thanked Sylvia Park for all her hard work in organising this year’s Dinner and the invaluable assistance afforded her by Cathy Kim.

Leave a Comment