|Dominican Ambassador to Korea Grecia Fordalicia Pichardo (in red, third from left) poses with other members of the foreign diplomatic community in Korea during a reception celebrating the Dominican Republic’s Independence Day at Seoul Millennium Hilton Hotel on Wednesday. (Philip Iglauer/The Korea Herald)|
Dominican Ambassador to Korea Grecia Fordalicia Pichardo took note during the reception commemorating the Caribbean nation’s Independence Day that a number of anniversaries coincide this year.
“This anniversary of our national independence coincides with the bicentennial of the birth of our nation’s founding father Juan Pablo Duarte and the 50th anniversary of having established its first democratic government presided by professor Juan Bosch,” Pichardo said in welcome remarks during the reception.
The Dominican Republic, the second-largest Caribbean nation after Cuba, secured its independence in 1844.
The Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with Korea in 1962, and is still the only Caribbean nation to have formal country-to-country ties with Seoul.
Relations took off when the country’s then-President Leonel Fernandez visited Korea in 2006, and the two nations inked a record 20 MOUs and agreements between various ministries and agencies.
At the center of Dominican-Korean ties is cooperation in upgrading the island republic’s governmental institutions with Korean IT know-how and to boost its exports to Korea of fruits and other Dominican food and beverages, including its signature rum.
Two-way trade was about $200 million in 2010, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The ministry’s Deputy Director-General of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Jang Myung-soo participated in the reception.
A joint program aimed at modernizing the Dominican Republic’s Export and Investment Promotion Agency, the eponymous Knowledge Sharing Program, is well under way, currently in its fifth phase, Pichardo said.