The Korea Times hosted a roundtable titled “Future of Korea-Central Asia Economic Cooperation” at the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) headquarters in Seoul, on Friday, 23 June.
The meeting was aimed to discuss the potential synergy between Korea’s technological prowess and Central Asia’s resource wealth, which can open new opportunities for fruitful partnerships that can bolster economic progress, sustainability and diplomatic relations.
The event moderated by The Korea Times President-Publisher Oh Young-jin, was attended by Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Korea Vitaliy Fen, Counselor at the Embassy of Kazakhstan Timur Jaikov, Attache at the Embassy of Kyrgyz Republic Sanzhar Valibekov, SK Supex Council Vice President Park Hoon, KCCI Research Division Executive Director Kang Seog-gu. Ambassador of Turkmenistan provided his written contribution.
Park from SK Supex Council emphasized the significance of Central Asia as a key partner for South Korea, stating that Central Asia’s mix of abundant resources and Korea’s technology and capital can create substantial synergy.
Park highlighted the various projects SK has been involved with in Central Asia, including copper production and expressway construction, but noted these initiatives were mostly one-off projects.
“Recently, as we have been participating in the World Expo 2030 bid activities, we have had opportunities to meet with foreign missions in Korea and visit various countries, including Central Asia, to promote Busan’s World Expo 2030 candidacy,” Park said.
“What we realized during this process was that there were more diverse areas for investment in Central Asia”, he added.
According to Park, the World Expo will provide an excellent opportunity to cultivate stronger ties between Korea and Central Asian countries.
Stressing vast opportunities for cooperation, Vice President of SK Supex Council named reforestation projects, infrastructure and smart city initiatives, car batteries are among the emerging avenues for partnership.
Kang of the KCCI agreed that Central Asia holds significant importance for South Korea’s future in terms of resources, trade and mutual growth. “Korea’s economy relies heavily on trade, but the dynamics surrounding trade are changing rapidly and we are also confronting issues such as climate change. Given these circumstances, Central Asia is becoming increasingly more important to Korea”, he stressed.
Recognizing Korea’s technological and manufacturing expertise, he sees an opportunity for mutual growth if Korea’s advanced technology and manufacturing skills are combined with Central Asia’s resources.
Kang highlighted significant opportunities for Central Asia, particularly in the context of climate change and digital transformation.
“As societies become more prosperous and develop, the quality of life becomes a crucial aspect. Medical and health care services are necessary to any prospering society. Korea is quite advanced in these areas and we could offer more support and collaboration in these sectors to Central Asia”, he went on saying.
Here are remarks by participants of the roundtable from Central Asia:
Unable to attend the roundtable, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to Korea Begench Durdyyev provided this written contribution to The Korea Times. Here is the full text of the Durdyyev’s article:
Effective bilateral cooperation in the political sphere is clearly manifested in the joint work of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea at the international level. Turkmenistan and Korea constantly support the candidatures of each other in various International organizations and structures.
Economic relations between the two countries are currently characterized by a certain stability and new qualitative content. Among the priority areas of cooperation between the two countries are the fuel and energy sector, agriculture, trade and economic sphere, construction, textile industry, transport and communications, and other industries. In this regard, we welcome the participation of Korean partners in the development of the Turkmen economy and intend to continue expanding our cooperation.
The establishment of direct cargo flights on April 26 between Ashgabat International Airport and Incheon International Airport, operated by Turkmenistan Airlines’ newly purchased A330-200 cargo planes, is another vivid example of great achievements in the history of Turkmen-Korean bilateral relations. Due to this new international air cargo service, the bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the countries will be greatly expanded.
With regard to the cooperation between Turkmenistan and Korea it has to be mentioned that in the second half of this year Turkmenistan will host the 16th Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the five Central Asian countries will gather in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, to discuss the ways of further expansion of multilateral relations and mutually beneficial cooperation between the five Central Asian countries and Korea.
Counselor at the Embassy of Kazakhstan to Korea Timur Jaikov:
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev visited Seoul in August 2021. During that visit our bilateral relations were upgraded to an Expanded Strategic Partnership. Kazakhstan is willing to further foster strategic partnerships with the Republic of Korea in all areas of mutual interest.
We attach special significance to our economic cooperation. Bilateral trade turnover and mutual investments show steady growth dynamics. Korea is the second most important trading partner of Kazakhstan in Asia and it is one of the top 10 investors in Kazakhstan.
In order to further strengthen and develop our economic cooperation we propose to focus on infrastructure, energy, mining and metallurgy, pharmacy, car manufacturing, agriculture, etc.
We have many success stories of cooperation in the field of infrastructure. The construction of Big Almaty Ring Road (BAKAD) was finished this month. SK E&C and Korea Expressway participated in this project.
In the field of energy currently, we actively cooperate with Doosan Enerbility. The project for the construction of a gas power plant in the Turkistan region with this company will be one of the major projects with the participation of Korean companies.
We have great potential for cooperation in the field of geology and rare metals. Currently, the government of Kazakhstan and the Korea Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources are considering the exploration of lithium deposits in Kazakhstan.
We are ready to continue to cooperate in all areas and taking this opportunity we invite Korean businesses to invest more actively in Kazakhstan.
Attache at the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to Korea Sanzhar Valibekov:
The relations between Kyrgyzstan and Korea are actively developing. Last year, our Foreign Minister Zheenbek Kulubaev visited Korea and this year, the Speaker of the Parliament Nurlanbek Shakiev also visited Korea with an official delegation.
The Embassy of Kyrgyzstan in Korea is working to facilitate more high-level visits, including President Sadyr Japarov, who is highly supportive of Korea.
One of the biggest achievements in our relations is the opening of direct flights between Bishkek and Seoul. This started about two weeks ago, on June 11. We strongly believe that establishing this direct route will help our relations in trade, economy, investment and collaboration to develop. In particular, I want to say that my ambassador was on the first flight by T’way Air and also a lot of Korean businessmen were on the same flight to Bishkek.
We also want to say that Kyrgyzstan is interested in Korean companies and hopes for more Korean companies to be active in Kyrgyzstan. In a recent case, we have our full-pledged cooperation with KT Corporation and recently signed an agreement of creating a joint company with KT and KT’s subsidiaries BC Card and Smartro. Korean financial organization BNK Capital also opened a representative office in Bishkek in May 2023.
I fully agree with my colleagues from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan strongly believes that investments from Korean companies in our countries will serve to strengthen our collaborations as well as the development of our regions.
Green development, digitalization and the social protection system are key areas of Korean-Uzbek cooperation
Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Korea Vitaliy Fen:
Economic cooperation is a priority of Uzbek-Korean relations. We consider interaction in the field of investment and innovation as an important mechanism for accelerating the modernization and diversification of our national economy.
At the beginning of June of this year, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Pak Jin visited Uzbekistan and held a number of meetings and negotiations.
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev received the delegation of the Republic of Korea and during the meeting topical issues on further strengthening the Uzbek-South Korean relations of friendship and a special strategic partnership, primarily in the trade, economic, investment, financial and technical fields, were discussed.
The three key areas of long-term cooperation between our countries were identified as: “green” development, digitalization and strengthening the social protection system.
We consider the forum “Korea-Central Asia Partnership” an important platform for multilateral interaction. Over the past years, Korea has been a reliable partner for the stable and sustainable economic development of the countries of Central Asia. We thank the Korean side for supporting the integration processes currently taking place in Central Asia.
The most important task for Uzbekistan remains the fight against climate change, including minimizing the consequences of the Aral Sea disaster.
We highly appreciate the importance of the project implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute together with KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) to improve the ecosystem in the Aral Sea region. ///nCa, 27 June 2023 (based on postings by The Korea Times)
#Korea, #Central_Asia, #Turkmenistan, #Uzbekistan, #Kyrgyzstan, #Kazakhstan