South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday received the credentials of the new ambassadors to South Korea from a dozen countries, during his welcome organized at the presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, in downtown Seoul.
Among the new diplomats were Marco Tulio Chicas Sosa, from Guatemala, and Athanasio Kosmas Sifaki, from Panama.
Meanwhile, Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, the eldest daughter of the late former South African ex-president Nelson Mandela, who began her mission in the country in October, was among those present.
The event was also attended by the new ambassadors of the Czech Republic, Angola, the Netherlands, France, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Qatar, Rwanda and Thailand.
The incoming ambassador from Japan, Koji Tomita, did not attend the event, since he has not yet begun his official mission in the country. So far the outgoing ambassador Yasumasa Nakamine is in South Korea carrying out diplomatic procedures for his next assignment to the United Kingdom.
The links between Japan and South Korea have recently deteriorated due to labor issues in times of war and trade.
The dispute arose in response to the judgments of the Seoul Supreme Court, which ordered Japanese companies to compensate South Korean victims for forced labor during Japan's colonial rule over the Korean peninsula, in 1910-45.
Japan also removed South Korea from its "white list" of trusted business partners in August, which gives preferential treatment to trade in dual-use industrial materials. In September, South Korea also withdrew Japan from its own list of trusted business partners, in an eye-to-eye measure.