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I would like to extend a warm welcome to you on the occasion of the 21st concert of the Austrian-Korean Philharmonic (AKPO).

Korea and Austria have maintained diplomatic relations for 127 years and have built a close, friendly cooperation based on universal values such as democracy and human rights.

Art and culture, as mediators that promote understanding between the people of both countries and deepen their friendship, have made a major contribution to the development of this friendly cooperation.

The Austrian-Korean Philharmonic, which is performing its 21st concert today, is a symbol of bilateral cooperation in the field of art and culture. Over the past few decades, around 700 young musicians from Korea and Austria have been part of the Austro-Korean Philharmonic. They are not only a valuable treasure, but also a bridge that connects our two countries.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Association for the Support of the Austrian-Korean Philharmonic, the Austrian Federal Government and all the people involved who contributed to the development of the Austrian-Korean Philharmonic and to the holding of this year's 21st concert. My applause goes especially to the conductor, Lorenz C. Aichner, the soloists, Kun woo Paik and Rafael Fingerlos, as well as the orchestra members who are giving us great music today.

I am convinced that the harmony of the young musicians from both countries will touch our hearts and create a valuable togetherness - just as the title "Touch" by the young Korean composer, Yong Bom Lee, promises to be premiered in today's program . I hope that with this year's concert we can make a contribution to peace, hope, prosperity and harmony between Korea and Austria for the future.

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