Colin Crooks, the British ambassador to South Korea, underscored the importance of Inter-Korean relations during the "Korea Day" ceremony commemorating National Foundation Day, Tuesday. Crooks, with diplomatic experience in both South and North Korea, stressed the significance of acknowledging Koreans as a people with a common history and cultural legacy.
Crooks says that National Foundation Day celebrated on Oct. 3, serves as a poignant reminder of the common bonds that tie the two Koreas together. It is the only national holiday celebrated by both North and South Korea, symbolizing a shared heritage that transcends political divisions. The ambassador stressed that understanding this shared history and cultural tradition is crucial when contemplating the possibilities of reconciliation and peace between the two nations.
"This day is a testament to the fact that Koreans, despite their political differences, share a rich history and cultural heritage that unites them," Crooks said in his congratulatory speech during the Korea Day event at Grand Hyatt Seoul.
"Recognizing this shared heritage is essential as we work towards a future of reconciliation and peace on the Korean Peninsula."
This year's Korea Day ceremony held additional significance as a cultural exchange event, marking the 140th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and the United Kingdom and the 50th anniversary of Korea-Indonesia diplomatic relations.
Crooks noted the historical differences in culture between the U.K. and South Korea, including distinct cuisines, art, music, dance and clothing. However, he pointed out that today, the similarities between the two nations' cultures are striking.
"Historically, as two countries on opposite sides of the world, our cultures were very different. However, today, I am more struck by the similarities than the differences," Crooks said. "Both the U.K. and South Korea are cultural superpowers whose contributions to global culture are widely appreciated."
Korea Day is organized by the World Culture Association (WCA), and sponsored by various government ministries, including the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Unification; the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and the Ministry of Environment, as well as the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
Korea Day promises to be a captivating celebration of culture, unity and heritage, embodying the essence of National Foundation Day and promoting peace and harmony on the Korean Peninsula.
"The Korea Day festival is a grand celebration where all 85 million Koreans worldwide, including overseas Koreans and those from both North and South, can come together as one to celebrate our shared heritage. It's an opportunity for us to take pride in our unique culture, with a history spanning half a millennium, and share it with the world," Diana Park, president of the World Culture Association said.