South Korea reopens embassy in Manama after 21-year hiatus

September 6, 2012

South Korea has re-opened its embassy in Bahrain after a 21-year hiatus during which the countries maintained diplomatic relations.

Seoul opened an embassy in 1976, but closed it in 1991, citing financial constraints.

“I do not think the 21-year gap is a stumbling block for the development of our friendly bilateral ties,” Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kyou-hyun, said as he and Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s foreign minister, attended the re-opening ceremony in Manama. “Today’s reopening of the embassy is an opportunity to reconfirm our friendship, and I hope that it will serve as a foundational cornerstone to further promote our long-term cooperation,” he was quoted as saying.

Shaikh Khalid said that the two capitals, “have been in diplomatic relations for the last 36 years” and that they “have both benefitted from each other’s expertise.”

Both officials said that relations between Bahrain and South Korea would be enhanced by the re-opening of the diplomatic mission.

“The Koreans, like their Bahraini counterparts, have overcome a lot of challenges and are one of world’s economic powers,” Shaikh Khalid said. “The Koreans have contributed towards making the region a stable and secure place and we have benefitted from that as well,” he said.

Relations have a strategic importance in light of the rapid global developments requiring countries to create bases of alliances in order to be able to accomplish more political, economic and trade achievements, Shaikh Khalid said.

The existence of a diplomatic mission will enhance trade and investment cooperation between businessmen in the two countries, boost cultural exchange and enable Bahrain and other GCC countries to take advantage of Korean technological expertise, he added.

In May, Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa held talks in Seoul with President Lee Myung-bak who described the landmark visit as a major boost for bilateral relations.

Prince Salman said that Bahrain “looked forward to benefitting from the South Korean development edge and technological know-how.”

Manama and Seoul concluded during the three-day visit several agreements in the areas of trade, economic and technical co-operation and culture “to promote mutually advantageous interests”.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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