South Koreans are enjoying their stay and visits to the country as much as Filipinos are developing a love for Korean trends and products, Korean ambassador Hyuk Lee said yesterday in Cebu City.
He said this mutual appreciation would strengthen ties between both countries.
“I am amazed by the continuing popularity of South Korean telenovelas in the country and of course, the Oppa Gangnam Style that’s also popular around the world,“ he said in a press conference at the Cebu Country Club.
“Also more Filipinos are using Samsung mobile devices.”
He was welcomed by University of Cebu president Augusto Go, Korean honorary consul, who gave him an image of St. Pedro Calungsod as a goodwill gift.
In his speech, Lee said Koreans are drawn to the country’s beaches and hospitality of Filipinos.
“I myself am touched by the beauty of the mountains and the seaside of Cebu.”
At the same time, Lee said that when he hears reports of Koreans misbehaving in the country “sometimes I feel very ashamed of them.”
“As an ambassador I feel it’s my duty to protect the Korean nationals here in the Philppines and to prevent them from doing very bad things.”
He made no specific reference but two recent crimes involving Koreans made headlines in Cebu newspapers recently..
Last Oct. 24, a Korean businessman and his Filipina girlfriend were rescued by police after a kidnap for ransom was staged allegedly on orders of another Korean who wanted to collect a money debt arising from heavy casino gambling.
On Oct. 31, Korean businessman Lee Dong Gun and his assistant survived a car ambush outside their subdivision in Lapu-Lapu City. Frustrated murder charges were filed against a long-time Korean resident in Cebu , Kim Jae Hyung, who remains at large.
Ambassador Lee also said he was worried about the Philippine ban on Korean noodles due to the presence of a cancer-causing chemical and urged the government to lift the ban (See related story).
Lee said there were 20,000 in the Korean community in Cebu who came to study the English language, enjoy the beaches and landmarks and invest in businesses.
“Cebu tourism leaders should work to communicate with their South Korean travel agencies to arrange more trips to Cebu. We may be able to assist in this with the Korean community here,” he said.
He said the Korean government is prepared to extend financial, technical and material assistance to the country even if it is less than that of the US and Japan.