President Moon Jae-in expressed hope Saturday that Koreans residing in foreign countries continue to support Seoul's peace efforts, especially its bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games together with Pyongyang.
Addressing the 13th World Korean Day event at a Seoul hotel, he recalled their contributions to the successful hosting of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics early last year.
"I request compatriots once again to work together for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said. "I expect you to add strength to the bid for the hosting of the 2032 Seoul-Pyongyang joint Olympics."
President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)
He attached a special meaning to this year's World Korean Day, which he called a festival of around 7.5 million Koreans living abroad, as Korea marks the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement, a popular uprising against Japan's colonial rule, and the establishment of a provisional government.
He stressed that Koreans abroad have contributed a lot to the fight against Japan's 1910-45 brutal colonization and South Korea's rapid economic growth after the 1950-53 Korean War.
"Just as the Republic of Korea's accomplishments over the past
100 years have been encompassed by the patriotism and devotion of its compatriots, the role of 7.5 million compatriots is important in the next 100 years as well," Moon said, using the official name of South Korea.
He pledged that his administration will keep making efforts to protect the safety, rights and interests of Koreans staying in foreign nations.
Following up on Moon's promise in his World Korean Day speech in 2017, the government has set up separate centers, tasked with providing overseas Koreans with safety-related information around the clock.
It has also hired additional consular officials to specialize in handling accidents and other cases involving them. As of September, 117 officials were working at 84 diplomatic missions abroad.
Moon said the government plans to continue to raise the number.
Meanwhile, the 2019 World Korean Community Leaders Convention was held along with the ceremony. (Yonhap)