As was reported earlier, the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-Hye was on a state visit to the Republic of Korea on 27-29 May.
Самое главное во взаимоотношениях – искреннее обоюдное доверие
The main official events of the visit took place on May 28. The Presidents first in a narrow circle, then in the expanded format carried out negotiations, during which in open, trusting and constructive atmosphere discussed the whole range of issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
The South Korean side expressed its high appreciation for the fact that after the recent presidential elections in our country Islam Karimov paid his first state visit to the Republic of Korea. It highlights the scope and prospects for expanding multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, as well as great importance attached by Uzbekistan to further strengthening the multifaceted relations of strategic partnership.
The Heads of States particularly noted that the most important thing the parties appreciate in the relationship is a genuine mutual trust.
Fruitful and constructive talks have confirmed the similarity of positions and approaches in all areas of bilateral cooperation, as well as regarding discussed issues of regional and international politics.
Uzbekistan supported peaceful, deeply thought-out and balanced foreign policy of the Republic of Korea aimed at maintaining peace and security on the Korean peninsula and in the whole region.
Uzbekistan welcomes the initiative of the President of the Republic of Korea in the past year in the city of Dresden, sustained and pragmatic “Initiative for the Peaceful Reunification”, aimed at the normalization of inter-Korean relations and ensuring the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Given the high level of interdependence of all countries in the age of globalization, the parties recognized the very topical “Eurasian initiative” launched by the South Korean leadership and see it as an important contribution to the revival of the Great Silk Road to modern realities which existed in ancient times.
The parties reached an understanding of the need for mutual coordination of this project with existing and successfully promoted international and sub-regional economic cooperation programs and development of transport and communication systems.
The Presidents said that the issues of development and utilization of water resources in Central Asia should be resolved through consultations in accordance with universally recognized norms of international law taking into consideration the interests of all states in the region.
The Management of the Republic of Korea expressed its gratitude to the Republic of Uzbekistan for the support in the matter of development of forum on cooperation «Republic of Korea – Central Asia” and the establishment of its permanent secretariat.
The parties highly appreciated the bilateral inter-parliamentary relations of cooperation, including through existing associations and friendship groups in legislative bodies.
The signing of the Joint Declaration in 2014 on the deepening and expanding the strategic partnership, which identifies promising areas of long-term cooperation between the two countries, became a landmark event.
A key component of bilateral relations is the cooperation in economy, trade, investment and financial fields. Within the discussion of issues of cooperation in the investment sphere, the President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-Hye noted that Uzbekistan is the largest partner of South Korea in Central Asia and for more than 20 years since independence, has made tremendous progress in the sustainable and dynamic development.
The South Korean side highly appreciated the achieved macroeconomic stability in Uzbekistan, created favorable investment climate, the reforms and deep structural transformations in education, infrastructure development, modernization of industry, creation of modern agriculture. Economic growth, which for the past 10 years exceeds 8 percent against a difficult situation in the global economy, causes admiration.
The President of South Korea said that our countries have great opportunities for development of cooperation in a wide range of industries, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information and communication technology, textiles, pharmaceuticals, building materials and many others.
Park Geun-Hye stressed that the Government of the Republic of Korea will fully promote the participation of Korean companies in investment projects in Uzbekistan.
The parties stressed the steady growth of trade turnover, which figures in recent years has been consistently exceeding 2 billion US dollars. In this regard, the South Korean side said that Uzbekistan is the largest trading and investment partner of the Republic of Korea on business in Central Asia. The Uzbek side emphasized its commitment to attracting first of all the most advanced high technology fr om South Korea.
As a result of negotiations the presidents signed a joint declaration, which defines the perspectives of cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.
In general, within the framework of the visit and the results of Uzbek-Korean Business Forum an unprecedented package of documents was signed – 60 agreements and contracts, 55 of them – in the field of trade and economic, investment, and financial-technical cooperation. 34 agreements were signed in the area of investment cooperation, including 5 projects in the petrochemical and chemical industries, 9 projects in the automotive industry, 5 projects in the electrical sector. They include prospective projects in hydrocarbon processing, implementation of the latest technology for processing of natural gas into methanol and olefins, modernization of production of nitric acid, the organization of a full cycle of manufacturing of three new global car models, the development of production of a new generation of automotive engines, transmissions and components, manufacturing of modern electrical appliances.
Seven projects of the pharmaceutical industry include the production of drugs for the treatment of cancer, endocrine, eye diseases, respiratory and digestive system diseases.
Financial cooperation is a priority for the Uzbek-South Korean relations. In this area seven agreements on attraction of preferential credit resources from South Korea were signed during the visit. Among them there are 6 agreements to attract long-term investment loans from banks of the Republic of Korea to finance priority projects in the framework of the program of modernization and industrial diversification and infrastructure development for the total amount of 2.9 billion dollars, a loan agreement for financing the project “Development of Information and Communication Technology in School Education” with the involvement of the soft loan of the Fund «EDCF» for the amount of 33 million dollars.
A cooperation program signed between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea under the Fund “EDCF” for 2015-2019 provides for the implementation of 6 projects involving attraction of long-term soft loans worth 415 million dollars, including projects on the creation of modern highly specialized multidisciplinary medical center of the IV level in Tashkent, the state data center of the “e-government”, the implementation of smart water management system based on ICT.
The program of cooperation with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for 2015-2017 includes the implementation of 11 projects with grants totaling to 58 million dollars. They include projects for the development a feasibility study of the project for the modernization of Tashkent airport with the construction of a new international terminal, establishment of centers for training of highly qualified medical staff and servicing of medical equipment for modern multidisciplinary hospitals of the IV level under construction, organization of centers for professional training in technical professions in Khorezm and Ferghana regions, development of the Tashkent University of Information Technologies with the construction and equipping it with modern information and resource center, the implementation of e-learning systems and equipping with scientific training laboratories.
Major export contracts for the supply of cotton fiber, non-ferrous metals, automotive cables, fertilizer, fruit and vegetable products, and others from Uzbekistan to South Korea were signed in the field of trade and economic cooperation.
The President of the Republic of Korea Park Geun-Hye expressed interest from the side of South Korean companies in further expansion of cooperation with Uzbekistan and suggested to form a list of new priority projects for the Uzbek side for the speedy processing the issues of their joint implementation, especially in the manufacturing sector. Recently adopted by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan programs of modernization and diversification of industry, infrastructure development, improving corporate governance and privatization of state enterprises will serve as the basis.
During the preparation for the state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on May 26 Seoul hosted the Uzbek-Korean business forum, which was attended by over 300 people from the South Korean side, including members of the Government, heads of ministries and departments, leading companies, financial institutions, universities and think tanks and media representatives.
Acting Prime Minister Choi Kyoung-hwan made a welcoming speech, in which he stressed that “Uzbekistan is our priority partner in Central Asia, wh ere it is possible and it is necessary to invest. We are committed to develop and strengthen strategic cooperation with Uzbekistan, particularly by supporting the country’s ongoing strategic programs for further industrial upgrading, infrastructure development, privatization programs, the development of the business environment and entrepreneurship, as well as radical improvement of corporate governance”.
The presidents of company “Lotte Chemical” Hu Yong Su, the company “Korean Air” Chi Chang Hoon, the company “GM Korea” Sergio Rocha, senior vice president of “Samsung Electronics” Qu Ying Choi, Vice President of Eximbank Kim Yong Ki and many others presented reports of successful experience in Uzbekistan and prospects of further development of bilateral cooperation.
The construction and organization of the activity of the House of the South Korean culture and art in the city of Tashkent were coordinated during the visit, in the framework of discussions on cultural and humanitarian cooperation, which will become the new symbol of the Uzbek-South Korean friendship and the embodiment of the aspirations of the two countries to strengthen trust and understanding between our peoples.
Park Geun-Hye expressed appreciation on behalf of all the people of South Korea for the care and attention provided to the Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan.
The state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to the Republic of Korea became a historic milestone in the development of relations, which raises bilateral cooperation to a qualitatively new level.