As reported earlier, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov traveled to the Republic of Korea with a state visit September 19-21 at the invitation of President Lee Myung-Bak.
In a sign of deep respect for the President of Uzbekistan, for Islam Karimov’s outstanding leadership qualities and his remarkable contribution to the promotion and consolidation of Uzbek-South Korean relations, the current trip has been granted the status of state visit on the initiative of the South Korean leader.
Following the ceremony of official meeting that included a tribute to state anthems of the two countries and the military guard of honor, Islam Karimov and Lee Myung-Bak went ahead to have bilateral talks.
President of the Republic of Korea expressed delight to meet with his Uzbek counterpart again, and said they are tied with friendly and confidential relations. The head of South Korea stressed in particular that the visit takes place in a year when the two nations mark the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic relations established between them, affording the event a special significance.
As far back as ancient times, our two peoples used to liaise by trade and multifaceted humanitarian bonds, share knowledge and experience, enrich one another in cultural and spiritual sense. The Uzbek and Korean peoples are also brought closer together with similar national qualities like diligence, reverence for elders and family values, hospitality, openness, and many other features. They will always remember the times when the Uzbek nation, with a generosity and warmth of soul inherent in it, gave shelter and affection to the tens of thousands of Koreans who turned up in Uzbekistan by the will of fate. This ethnic group has become an integral part of the multiethnic people of our country. The seventy-fifth anniversary of the Koreans living in Uzbekistan has been widely celebrated this year.
Currently, owing to the intensive dialogue and shared aspiration, our two states have established relations of sincerity, mutual respect and confidence, close strategic partnership, which has constantly been filled with solid practical content.
The leaders of the two nations, in a candid atmosphere, exchanged views and confirmed the concurrence of their visions on an extensive spectrum of issues pertinent to the intensification of interaction across all different kinds of areas as well as the topical international and regional issues of joint interest.
President Islam Karimov’s current visit to the Republic of Korea has been considered a logical extension of the regular dialogue at the highest level and demonstrated a reciprocal willingness of the two sides to endow a new impetus to the practical bilateral cooperation in all spheres.
The two sides have highly appreciated the present state of Uzbek-South Korean interaction in political, trade and economic, investment, cultural and humanitarian areas, which has been steadily expanding and being packed with new substance in the spirit of the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership signed in 2006.
The Republic of Korea is regarded in Uzbekistan as a swiftly advancing modern state, wielding a keen economic, industrial-technical and intellectual potential, and that which – amid the global financial downturn – has been displaying unfaltering growth rates owing to the far-reaching introduction and proactive realization of cutting-edge innovation technologies.
For Uzbekistan, South Korea is a long-term, reliable and time-tested strategic partner, relations with which have fully acquired a mature, systemic and mutually advantageous nature. Energetic has become the interaction in political sphere at the interstate and intergovernmental levels, so has the cooperation among economic and commercial entities, including banks and private companies.
The volume of bilateral trade in 2011 exceeded 1.6 billion US dollars, while in the first half of the current year it has grown by nearly 50 percent. The agreement and normative base of relations between our two countries contains more than 230 documents.
Following the negotiations, Presidents of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea signed a joint statement outlining the intentions of both sides to further promote cooperation in mutually rewarding directions and sectors, an interaction that suits the vital and longer-term interests of our two nations.
Presidents Islam Karimov and Lee Myung-Bak have also expressed satisfaction with the adoption of a range of documents envisioning cooperation in law, tourism and finance, along with a considerable package of deals worth more than 5 billion US dollars, including over 3 billion dollars accounting for direct South Korean investments.
The ongoing projects are dedicated to shoring up the Navoi Free Industrial and Economic Zone, the international intermodal logistics center at the Navoi airport, as well as the Angren Special Industrial Zone.
The documents inked also encompass bilateral cooperation in such industries as mechanical engineering, energy, textiles, pharmaceuticals, extraction and processing of minerals, production of petrochemicals and electronic goods and construction materials. This has been facilitating the greater consolidation of the foundation of strategic partnership and the creation of prerequisites conducive to the development at a qualitatively new level.
The President of the Republic of Korea gave a high evaluation of the sustainable and balanced economic growth secured by Uzbekistan in light of the unsound financial and economic situation in the world.
The two sides have also agreed to continue with the mutually beneficial investment cooperation, including in the provision of financial and technical assistance to the implementation of socially important schemes in Uzbekistan through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of Korea’s Eximbank in sectors like education, healthcare, information technologies, power saving, agriculture and environment.
A crucial component of bilateral cooperation is cultural and humanitarian bonds. A high degree of interaction has been achieved in education and science, sports, healthcare and tourism. The two sides have been enthusiastic in promoting exchange among students, teachers and specialists.
Within the framework of the current visit, President Islam Karimov met with Kang Chang-hee, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. The two officials exchanged views on parliamentary reforms underway in our two countries, and underscored shared willingness to enhance the bilateral trade-economic and investment cooperation.
President Islam Karimov and the Speaker Kang Chang-hee highly appreciated the role of the two nations’ legislatures in upholding the high level of bilateral strategic partnership. The parties to talks vowed to intensify inter-parliamentary interaction, expand contacts between diverse parliamentary bodies of the two countries, increase exchange of information and experience in the related sphere.
President Islam Karimov also held negotiations with Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Kim Hwang-sik.
As the Uzbek leader put it, the established business partnership has been critically instrumental in buttressing the Uzbek-South Korean multilayered economic cooperation. Islam Karimov stressed in particular that our two economies do not pose as competitors for one another, but rather reinforce each other in various aspects.
The President of Uzbekistan and the Prime Minister of South Korea underlined their high approval of the growth rates in bilateral trade-economic interaction. To date, in excess of 400 joint ventures are created in Uzbekistan, including 64 with a hundred-percent South Korean capital. With an energetic participation of Korean business representatives, a range of strategic projects have been underway in our country, including the construction of a four-billion-dollar Ustyurt Gas Chemical Complex at the Surgil Deposit as well as the intermodal logistics complex in Navoi.
Islam Karimov and Kim Hwang-sik expressed mutual willingness to further assist the expansion of the scope of interaction between our two nations on diverse fronts.
During the visit, President Islam Karimov also met with Minister of Public Administration and Security of the Republic of Korea Maeng Hyung-kyu, the Chief Executive Officer of POSCO Corporation Chung Joon-Yang, the Chairman and CEO of Korean Air and Hanjin Group of Companies Cho Yangho. These meetings served to discuss issues pertinent to bolstering the trade and economic cooperation, engaging the leading South Korean companies in schemes designed to develop new deposits of raw minerals, to boost transport and communications systems, logistics and information technologies.
The state visit by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Republic of Korea has opened a new page in the history of Uzbek-South Korean relations.
As it was noted during the meetings, the agreements reached and the documents signed are fully in sync with the longer-run interests of our two peoples and will facilitate the effective realization of the existing rich potential of cooperation. The two sides have reiterated their willingness to augment the strategic partnership, advance political dialogue and step up interaction in all areas for mutual benefit.