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Shared spirit of altruism binds Jordan, South Korea together, says ambassador

By JT - Oct 01,2023 - Last updated at Oct 01,2023

Kim Dong-gi

AMMAN — Jordan’s “spirit of compassion, generosity” and inclusiveness is reflected in its hosting of millions of Syrian and other refugees from neighbouring countries, South Korea’s Ambassador to Jordan Kim Dong-gi said.

In remarks to The Jordan Times on the occasion of South Korea’s national day, Kim highlighted Jordan’s pivotal role in maintaining stability in the region under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah.

This year marks the 4,355th anniversary of the founding of the ancient Korea, “Gojoseon”, the ambassador said.

“According to historians, the first country on the Korean peninsula was established based on the humanitarian ideal, to expand the benefit of people and to promote the welfare of humankind,” the envoy said.

“As a national motto, the spirit of helping others has united Korean people throughout history in a shared sense of purpose, fostering in us a mentality of determination,” Kim said. “As a result, they have achieved political, economic and cultural development despite a lack of natural resources, and in the face of challenging geopolitical environment.”

In 1969, Korea received 80 billion Korean won of official development assistance (ODA), amounting to a quarter of the government’s annual budget. Now Korea is the only country in the world which turned from an aid recipient to a donor country, Kim said.

“I am not saying this to show off, but I believe our experience would be an inspiring example for many countries around the world,” Kim said.

The ambassador talked about how the value of generosity is shared between the two countries.

“Jordanians are familiar with this altruistic idea. Since I arrived in Amman, I have found this is alive in the hearts of people here in Jordan,” Kim said.

 He noted that over the last 60 years, the bilateral relations between Korea and Jordan have been mature in various fields, such as ODA, the economy and culture.

In terms of the development support, South Korea has invested in Jordan since the 70s, including major infrastructure projects such as roads, power plants and the first research and training reactor in Jordan. 

The trade volume between the two countries has reached $1billion, a record high since 2015, Kim said.

In terms of culture, Kim discussed the recent interest in cultural exchange among Korean and Jordanian youth.

“We are witnessing the Korean culture contents like K-pop, Korean TV series and food are getting more popular especially among young Jordanians,” Kim said.

“Similarly, a growing number of young Koreans are interested in Jordan and its culture, and they choose Jordan as the destination to visit and study.”

The ambassador also mentioned an article he wrote for a Korean newspaper about the bilateral relationship, in which he focused on why many Jordanian youngsters like Korean culture. 

“I concluded that it is because there is something in common, overcoming all the environmental, cultural and religious differences, and it is demonstrated in Korean cultural content in an appealing manner. And this phenomenon is noteworthy because the young generations of the two countries are the future of their countries, and a precious asset for the bilateral relations.” 

Kim continued, talking about some of the recent programmes and initiatives South Korea has supported in Jordan.

“First, Korea has provided various development programmes to Jordan, and this year we are working together with the Jordanian government in water resources, energy and climate change,” Kim said.

Kim mentioned South Korea’s efforts to support refugees in Jordan through international organisations.

He also talked about South Korea’s support for education.

“And now we are supporting mainly Jordan’s education, especially technical and vocational education and training (TVET),” Kim said. “That is because Korea itself has nothing but human resources to rely on, and it has focused on developing human resources.” 

Being an aid recipient-turned-donor country, Korea has a lot of past experience to draw on, Kim said. 

The ambassador wrapped his remarks with a famous Arabic proverb, “Assadiq’ Alhaqiqi ne’mah min Allah”, meaning a true friend is a blessing from Allah.  

“I believe Korea and Jordan’s friendship is a gift from God, and it is our common duty to cherish and nurture it for the future,” Kim said. “And from our side, Korea would like to continue its efforts to be a real friend next to Jordan when it needs us.”

 

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