NUR-SULTAN – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is on his official two-day visit to South Korea that began on Monday, Aug. 16. He met with the President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, reports the Akorda press service.
President Tokayev is the first foreign leader to visit South Korea since the pandemic began. The two leaders, who met in 2019 during Moon Jae-in’s visit to Nur-Sultan, discussed the development of the Kazakh-Korean strategic partnership, including boosting trade and economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian ties.
South Korea is one of Kazakhstan’s most important strategic partners in Asia, said Tokayev. South Korea has so far invested more than $6 billion into the economy of Kazakhstan and 550 companies with Korean capital are working in Kazakhstan, including such giants as Samsung, Hyundai, Lotte, and Posco. Last year, bilateral trade reached $5.9 billion.
“I believe that the work on attracting investment should be continued. You may recall that two years ago I told you that we need to create a very major project,” said Tokayev, noting that Kazakhstan could benefit from the high technology and healthcare from South Korea.
President Moon Jae-in said the Kazakh leader was a “long-awaited and special guest.”
“It is very important that our meeting is taking place in the year of the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence and the 76th anniversary of Korea’s independence,” said Moon Jae-in.
He thanked Tokayev and the people of Kazakhstan for active assistance in returning the remains of the national hero of Korea General Hong Beom-do, who fought against imperial Japan and died in Kazakhstan in 1943.
Moon Jae-in also commended Kazakhstan’s active role in the regional and international processes describing it as the “most dynamically developing country in Central Asia.”
“It is Kazakhstan that has been Korea’s first trade and investment partner in Central Asia. For 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, our countries have developed friendly relations and cooperation. Even during the pandemic, we continued to maintain close contacts through correspondence at all levels,” said the President of South Korea, noting that the Korean people have a special feeling for the people of Kazakhstan.
The two leaders witnessed the signing of agreements that will facilitate cooperation in trade, culture, water resource management, among other areas, and agreed to gear up their Fresh Wind program, which was launched during their meeting in 2019. The program is designed to attract new investments and high technologies.
Another step in the direction of bilateral cooperation will be the opening of Kazakhstan’s Consulate General in Pusan.
“This will open up new opportunities for strengthening our strategic partnership. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kazakhstan and Korea,” said Tokayev.