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Summit between S. Korea and Central Asia to be established

Summit between S. Korea and Central Asia to be established

Posted June. 08, 2024 08:30,   

Updated June. 08, 2024 08:30


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is embarking on a unique journey, visiting three Central Asian countries – Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan – from June 10 through June 16. This marks his first overseas schedule since his return from the Netherlands on December 15 and his first foreign visit this year. Building on the success of the South Korea-Africa summit, President Yoon is planning to establish a summit between South Korea and five Central Asian countries after this visit, with the first summit set to take place in South Korea next year. First Lady Kim Keon Hee will be by his side.

“Central Asia, with its abundant resources of oil, gas, and key minerals, presents a promising potential for cooperation,” emphasized the first deputy director of the Office of National Security, Kim Tae-hyo, and Senior Presidential Secretary for Economic Affairs, Park Chun-seop, during a briefing held in the presidential office in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on Friday. “The upcoming visit will serve as a platform to further expand the economic cooperation relationship between the two sides.” The visit will be accompanied by the members of 86 organizations, including associations, institutions, and 65 companies, highlighting the strong interest in this potential collaboration.

President Yoon and First Lady Kim will arrive in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, on Monday afternoon. They will attend an official welcoming ceremony before a summit meeting with Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedow. Several memoranda of understanding containing plans to expand bilateral cooperation will be signed.

Then, the president will meet with the Korean ethnic group and Korean nationals in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on Tuesday before dinner with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. During an official state visit scheduled for Wednesday, the Korean president will discuss strengthening bilateral strategic partnerships during a summit. They will then visit Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend a summit meeting and sign an agreement and memoranda of understanding. The president and the first lady will return to South Korea in the afternoon of June 15 after visiting Samarkand, an ancient city designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on the same day.

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com