The South Korean Embassy to Indonesia on Tuesday bestowed the Gwanghwa Medal on Thomas Lembong, former Trade Minister and former Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), for his contributions to Korea-Indonesia bilateral ties.
The medal is the first-class Order of Diplomatic Service Merit, the South Korean government’s highest award that recognizes a foreign diplomat’s contribution to improving bilateral ties.
Tuesday’s award ceremony in Jakarta was conducted in compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols. Key attendees of the event included former Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea John Prasetio, Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kocham) vice president Kang-Hyun Lee, Korea Trade Center Jakarta (Kotra) president director Lee Jongyoon, Korean Association in Indonesia president Park Jae Han and Sinar Mas vice chairman Gandi Sulistiyanto. Several members of the diplomatic corps also attended the ceremony.
South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Park Tae-sung said in a statement on Tuesday that Thomas was being recognized for his contribution to promoting an exchange of presidential visits between South Korea and Indonesia during his tenure as the trade minister in 2015-2016.
The former minister was also recognized for supporting South Korean companies to expand their businesses in Indonesia, including CJ Posco, Lotte Chemical Titan and Hyundai Motor Asia Pacific.
Thomas expressed his gratitude for the award, and that he was proud to have contributed to Indonesia building a warm and productive relationship with South Korea. The conferral of the medal would also serve as motivation to establish good mutual ties between Indonesia and other countries, he said.
Indonesia is the only country to establish a special strategic partnership with South Korea, its 6th leading trade partner. Indonesia ranks 15th among South Korea’s foreign trade partners.
The two countries have also established a Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) to allow essential workers and businessmen to travel between Indonesia and South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic.