Send to

Sweden recalls historical bonds with Korea

June 11, 2024 - 13:32 By Sanjay Kumar
Johannes Andreasson, Charge d’affaires of the Swedish Embassy delivers remarks at Sweden Day at Grand Hyatt in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on Wednesday.(Embasy of Sweden in Seoul)

Sweden marked its National Day on Wednesday, celebrating 501 years of independence since the election of King Gustav Vasa in 1523, and the 50th anniversary of Carl XVI Gustaf's reign, Sweden's longest-serving monarch.

Delivering remarks at the event, Johannes Andreasson, charge d'affaires at the Swedish Embassy, highlighted the deep historical ties between Sweden and Korea.

"We are celebrating 65 years of diplomatic relations, but our contacts date back over 300 years," said Andreasson referring to the first recorded meeting between Swedes and Koreans in Beijing on February 20, 1722, when Korean merchants attempted to meet a Swedish officer.

"But the Chinese guards accompanying the Koreans refused to let them and they were turned away. Two days later they came back, but again, to no avail,” recalled Andreasson.

“A lot has changed since then, and if nothing else, our merchants can now meet freely. And our relations have developed, not least in the area of security,” said Andreasson, emphasizing the evolving nature of Swedish-Korean relations, especially in security and economic cooperation.

He noted that Sweden's recent joining of NATO underscores the importance of closer ties between European and Asian democracies in the face of global challenges, citing Russia's war against Ukraine.

The event featured remarks about ongoing collaborations such as Swedish electric vehicles being powered by Korean batteries, green energy projects on Jeju Island, and a joint satellite launch planned for next year.

The embassy also highlighted Swedish creativity in K-pop and the deployment of Swedish weapon-locating systems on the Korean border.

Cazim Redzovic of SAAB introduces systems that can be useful to Korea at Sweden Day at Grand Hyatt in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on Wednesday.(Embasy of Sweden in Seoul)

The event was attended by diplomatic corps members, Foreign Ministry representatives, and Swedish and Korean organizations with exhibition booths showcasing Swedish companies in Korea, such as Ericsson LG, Saab and Volvo.

Cazim Redzovic of Saab emphasized the importance of Swedish-Korean cooperation in defense, noting ongoing talks about the GlobalEye airborne surveillance system.

“Saab is its part of our Swedish heritage. Because Saab is a Swedish company by origin, founded back in 1937 as part of the Swedish Armed Forces and supporting the Swedish Armed Forces,” Redzovic told The Korea Herald.

Shampa Saira Bari of Ericsson discussed its joint venture with LG and the long history of Swedish telecommunications in Korea, dating back to 1896.

“I think for Sweden, one of the things that we've been working on is tripartite cooperation where academia, the government and the private sector work together in certain national interests,” she said citing this year's National Day exhibition, in which private companies were participating, as an example.