- President Aragonès and Minister Serret inaugurated the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to South Korea, the first Catalan Government delegation on the Asian continent, whose delegate is Jaeyeok Yoon Kang
event_note Press Release
Today, the President of the Government of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès, together with the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union, Meritxell Serret, and delegate Jaeyeok Yoon Kang, officially inaugurated the headquarters of the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to South Korea, based in Seoul. It is a delegation that, in the words of the President, was created with“the task of promoting the entire deployment of the Government of Catalonia’s foreign relations on the Asian continent”. ”We are not opening just another delegation, but rather we are taking a great leap forward in Catalonia’s foreign relations and international policy,” he said.
The inauguration of this Delegation, the first to be opened by the Catalan Government on the Asian continent, took place on the first day of the institutional trip to the Republic of Korea, in an event attended by institutional actors and South Korean civil society, as well as representatives of Catalan companies and the Catalan community resident in the country.
In this sense, President Aragonès stressed that“there is no other non-state government that has a network of institutional representation in the world like the one Catalonia has”. And he noted that“we have never had as many delegations as we do now: a total of 21, covering 72 countries, and which allow Catalonia’s impact around the world to be multiplied”. The President also pointed out that Minister Serret will travel to Japan after South Korea, to“begin work on setting up a delegation in this country, which we hope will be fully operational next year”. And he noted that“we have on the horizon the opening of two new delegations, one in Southeast Asia and the other on the Indian subcontinent”.
During his speech at the event, the head of the Catalan Government emphasised that this new Delegation“will allow us to have a more solid and fluid relationship with Korean institutions, companies and society, and to bring us closer to the continent as a whole”. He stressed that the Republic of Korea“is a strategic country in our approach to the Asian continent” and a “benchmark in areas that are very important for Catalonia”, such as emerging technologies, artificial intelligence and big data, as well as video games or the entire audiovisual sector and digital culture, not to mention water management, the promotion of electric vehicles and sustainable mobility.
President Aragonès also stressed the importance of the Republic of Korea as a “strategic country, at a time when many things are happening in the world and in which Catalonia, hand in hand with Europe, clearly wants to be aligned with those countries that defend a system of values, that also defend shared interests and a multilateral vision of the world”.
Aragonès also referred to the Republic of Korea as a“historically priority country”for Catalan foreign action, and recalled that Catalonia has very important Korean investments, which“have helped us to have an even more solid, more internationalised and more advanced economy, both in the 1980s and the 1990s”. He added that with the opening of ACCIÓ’s office in Seoul in 2012,“this relationship took a step forward”.
In her speech, the Minister for Foreign Action and European Union underlined how the opening of the Delegation was key to the Catalan Government’s institutional deployment in Asia.“It is the first on the Asian continent and it makes perfect sense for it to be in the Republic of Korea. We have institutional and economic ties that go back many years”, said Serret.
The head of Foreign Action also took stock of what the application of Article 155 meant for Catalan foreign action:”It tried to completely dismantle the structure of the Government of Catalonia’s foreign action. Six years later, not only has this not been dismantled, but we now have a greater institutional presence around the world than ever before”.
For his part, the Catalan Government delegate to South Korea highlighted the ties between the two territories, which began in the eighties and nineties of the last century.”Since the 1980s, Catalonia has promoted institutional, social, economic and cultural relations with Korean public and private institutions. The cities of Barcelona and Busan were twinned in 1983”, said Jaeyeok Yoon Kang.
Created in 2022, the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to South Korea has the mission of promoting bilateral relations and fostering the internationalisation of Catalonia in what is currently the fourth-largest Asian economy, after China, India and Japan, and the twelfth largest in the world. The Delegation will also offer accompaniment to Catalan citizens residing in the Republic of Korea.
More than ever, Catalonia is “in the world”
The Government of Catalonia has more delegations abroad than ever before, 21 to be precise. All of them institutionally cover 72 of the world’s countries, including all Member States of the European Union.
The opening of the Delegation of the Government of Catalonia to South Korea is the first on the Asian continent, and will be followed by that of Japan, where delegate Mònica Castellà Pujadó is already working to open offices in Tokyo.
The President and his office are working to strengthen and expand the delegation network in the coming years, after a first phase of consolidation of existing offices. Prospects for deployment include advancing the Catalan Government’s institutional presence in South and Southeast Asia.
To report on the relaunching of the Catalan Government’s presence in the world, President Aragonès and Minister Serret presented the campaign “We are in the world” from the Republic of Korea, which highlights the power of the Executive’s institutional presence abroad.
With a discourse that touches upon some of the most important cities in the world, the campaign expresses that Catalonia “is once again on the front line”. With the slogan “We are in the world”, it reviews the reasons why the Catalan Government has an institutional presence abroad. “To work, to build, to share ideas, to provide solutions to global problems, to speak our own mind, to enter into a dialogue with all cultures” – these are some of the reasons put forward by the campaign.
Finally, it concludes by saying that the Catalan Government is in the world “in 72 countries through a network that is constantly growing”, adding that this is “with unprecedented institutional strength”.
Ties between Catalonia and the Republic of Korea
The Republic of Korea is a strategic and priority country for Catalan foreign action, among other reasons, due to Korean business investment in Catalonia in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Institutional relations between Catalonia and South Korea began with the twinning agreement between the cities of Barcelona and Busan in 1983, and with the inauguration of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Barcelona in 1988.
Trade relations between the two territories have grown in recent years, and there are now around 700 Catalan companies that regularly export to South Korea. Catalonia’s main exports to South Korea are products such as pork, pharmaceuticals and plastics.
In the field of education, three Catalan universities have more than 20 active agreements with Korean universities, including three of the most prestigious universities in South Korea: Seoul National University, Korea University and KAIST.
Relations between Catalonia and South Korea have grown gradually in recent years as a result of the will of both parties to promote the internationalisation process of their respective societies and to support the initiatives of companies and organisations in an increasingly global world.