Fellow Koreans doing business abroad,
I welcome you all from many different countries around the world. I am truly proud of you who have made success stories out of businesses in distant lands using Koreans’ signature creativity and diligence.
I know well about the affection you hold for your homeland. The World Korean Business Convention was inaugurated in 2002 with 968 business leaders from 28 countries, and it has now grown into the largest venue for Korean businesses with more than 5,000 people from over 60 countries in attendance. Your endeavors aimed at contributing to your homeland are also getting increasingly enthusiastic. On behalf of the Koreans here at home, I am deeply grateful to you.
This year’s Convention is being held in the City of Incheon, a gateway to the Korean Peninsula. Incheon’s goal is to open a corridor that links the Republic of Korea to the world. It is well suited to the World Korean Business Convention’s goal of making a Republic of Korea economic map that spreads over the world.
I look forward to our overseas business leaders’ performances shining even brighter through the ever-advancing World Korean Business Convention.
Overseas Korean business leaders, distinguished guests,
While traveling abroad, I have met many Korean business leaders who bring honor to the Republic of Korea in their adopted countries. Every one of them was writing a success story while breaking into a harsh overseas market with enthusiasm and a spirit that embraces challenges. I was proud of them and also moved by them.
Their success stories are giving immense inspiration and courage to our young people and those domestic business leaders envisioning entry into overseas markets.
The advancement of Korean businesses and youth into overseas markets is a way for us to demonstrate our capabilities internationally. At the same time, it is a new breakthrough that can inject vitality into the Korean economy.
Many of our overseas business leaders have thus far helped domestic small and medium-sized enterprises and young startup owners tap into foreign markets. They have also served as reliable partners enabling our young people to develop global expertise. In addition, they have been unstinting in providing assistance to the underprivileged, multicultural families and young North Korean refugees back in the homeland by creating scholarship foundations.
In particular, during my visit to Vietnam last year, overseas Korean entrepreneurs proposed a campaign encouraging each company to employ one young Korean, and they are now putting it into practice throughout the world. I am so grateful that I feel like giving all of you a piggyback ride.
This year a total of 107 Korean businesses in 32 countries abroad provided various internship opportunities and quality jobs to about 300 young Koreans. Young, next-generation overseas Korean entrepreneurs are with us here today. I feel truly grateful to them.
Distinguished Korean entrepreneurs from abroad,
We are now living in an era of unbridled global competition. International and interregional competitions as well as protectionism are on the rise, and we are undergoing unprecedented technological innovation and changes as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In the face of the enormous challenges of this era, it is necessary to further strengthen the solidarity and bonds of Koreans’ global business network. If united, there are no mountains too high.
The Korean Government is now improving the investment environment for new industries by introducing a regulatory sandbox system and passing related legislation: the Act on the Regulation of the Special Economic Zones for Specialized Regional Development, the Industrial Convergence Promotion Act, and the Special Act on Promotion of Information and Communication and Revitalization of Convergence. By implementing the New Northern Policy and New Southern Policy, the Government is greatly increasing economic exchanges and cooperation with ASEAN and India to the south as well as Russia and Europe to the north.
These initiatives will provide excellent opportunities not only for domestic businesses but for you overseas Korean business leaders.
When I had a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae with a group of presidents and regional representatives after the World Korean Business Convention last year, inter-Korean relations had deteriorated to the extent that war seemed a genuine concern. We were in a very tough situation; it was hardly possible to assure the success of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
I recall asking participating business leaders at that meeting to muster their strength to make the PyeongChang Winter Olympics a peace Olympics.
Thanks to overseas Korean entrepreneurs' material and emotional support, it has been possible to stage a peace Olympics, which deeply impressed the whole world, and make enormous headway in inter-Korean relations in a short period of time.
Things that were unimaginable just one year ago are becoming a reality through miraculous changes. Valuable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are being presented to the Korean people and entrepreneurs.
As I declared in the Panmunjom Declaration and the Pyongyang Joint Declaration, we will remove the shadow of war over the Korean Peninsula and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.
When the people of South and North Korea are allowed to come and go freely and a single economic community is materialized on the foundation of complete denuclearization and a peace settlement, the Korean people and economy can take a new leap forward. Investment will be made, jobs will be created and the economy will be full of new vitality.
I believe that you overseas Korean entrepreneurs will join us in the continuing journey of our people toward peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
Overseas Korean business leaders and distinguished guests,
Jewish, Chinese and Indian businesspeople are considered the world’s top three merchants. I believe that overseas Korean businesspeople have the potential to leapfrog over them and play a significant role in the world economy.
If the Korean Government further develops its policy for overseas Koreans and expands efforts to strengthen bonds among Korean businesses, overseas Korean business leaders maintaining a strong national identity will be able to make even bigger contributions to not only our economy but also the world economy.
The Korean Government will support you overseas Korean entrepreneurs through its policies to create a favorable business environment.
I congratulate you once again on the 17th World Korean Business Convention. I hope that the network of overseas Korean entrepreneurs will become even more cohesive as a single “United Hansang.”
Let us create a Republic of Korea of peace and prosperity so that we all can have even greater pride in our homeland.