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South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin speaks during an iftar dinner late last week in time with Ramadan in Seoul. Photo by Yeo Hong-il/Korea News Plus

MOFAT has hosted Iftar dinner over the past 2 decades

On the occasion of Ramadan, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin hosted an iftar dinner late last week with 170 domestic and foreign members.

Included in the participants were diplomatic corps from members of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), who marked Ramadan in Seoul.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFAT), it has hosted the Iftar dinner since 2004 to enhance mutual understanding between cultures.

It has been suspended for three years through last year due to the virus pandemic, though.

Ramadan, which falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, continues for about a month in which people fast during the sun’s rise, practice charity and tolerance, advanced by about 10 days each year. In 2023, the period is between March 23 and April 20.

According to officials of Islam countries’ embassies, Iftar is the first meal after a day’s fasting every day after sunset during Ramadan, which means “breakfasting.”

To diversify its diplomatic horizons in the world, the MOFAT has been seeking mutual cooperation with the OIC, a consultative body of Islamic countries established in 1969.

A total of 57 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Indonesia, are joining as members.

Minister Park said that he had realized the value of solidarity through the common adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic, recalling the meaning of Ramadan, such as moderation, tolerance, and solidarity.

In addition, as Korea was able to grow from the poorest country to the 10th largest economy after the Korean War (1950~53) thanks to the help of the international community, the Korean government is also actively contributing to responding to conflicts and disasters around the world, Park noted.

In particular, during the Turkiye-Syria earthquake, Park said the Korean government had dispatched the largest emergency relief unit ever.

In addition, Minister Park evaluated the long-standing friendship with Islamic culture as a practical cooperative relationship encompassing various fields such as energy, infrastructure, health, and the environment today and asked to continue mutually beneficial cooperation for future generations.

Among Islamic countries’ envoys accredited to Korea who joined the event were Morocco Amb. Chafik RACHADI as the dean of the Islamic countries Ambassador groups, Tajikistan Amb. Yusuf SHARIFZODA, UAE Amb. Abdulla Saif ALNUAIMI, Lebanon Amb. Antoine AZZAM, Kazakhstan Amb. Bakyt DYUSSENBAYEV, Oman Amb. Zakariya Hamed Hilal AL SAADI, Nigeria Amb. Ali Mohammed MAGASHI, Saudi Amb. Sami M . ALSADHAN, Bangladesh Amb. Md. Delwar HOSSAIN, Qatar Amb. Khalid Ebrahim Al-Hamar, Algeria Amb. Mohammed BENSABRI, Indonesia Amb. Gandi Sulistiyanto SOEHERMAN, Egypt Amb. Khaled Abdel Rahman, Pakistan Amb. Nabeel Munir, Jordan Amb. Asal AL-TAL, Kyrgyz Amb. Aida ISMAILOVA, Malaysia Amb. Lim Juay Jin, Turkmenistan Amb. Begench Durdyyev, Azerbaijan Amb. Ramin Hasanov, Türkiye Amb. Murat Tamer, and Sudan Amb. Amira Agarib.

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Yeo studied German in Seoul. He has worked as a journalist for the past 40 years. He has mostly covered diplomacy, foreign schools, regional festivals, culture and other areas. He can be reached at hyeo7832@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.