On Monday Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met and held talks with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Our country was the last stop on the latter’s three-nation tour to Central Asia that had also taken him to Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This was his first visit to our region as President. Mr. Moon Jae-in flew into Kazakhstan’s largest city of Almaty following his four-day visit to Uzbekistan. On Sunday in our country’s former capital, he watched a play at a local Korean theater and met with some 300 Koreans residing in the city. The South Korean president headed to the capital Nur-Sultan later in the same day. On Monday, Mr. Moon Jae-in held a bilateral summit with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in the capital, formerly called Astana.
«Kazakhstan is a key partner in promoting South Korea’s New Northern Policy which is aimed at the establishment of peace and the expansion of economic cooperation on the Eurasian continent. I hope my visit will give impetus not only to the development of bilateral relations, but also to the strengthening of multilateral cooperation between the Republic of Korea and the countries of Central Asia», Mr. Moon Jae-In said.
The South Korean president pointed out that Kazakhstan was among those Central Asian countries that are developing at the fastest pace. He also thanked our country’s leadership for its peace policy and support for stabilizing situation on the Korean Peninsula.
«It is encouraging to note the progressive growth in bilateral economic ties and commercial cooperation. According to the results of the previous year, the volume of reciprocal trade reached a record level, making up $4 billion. This is more than double compared with the amount recorded in 2017. In Kazakhstan, the volume of foreign direct investment from South Korea totalled $7 billion. One of the largest projects at this point is the construction of the BAKAD with the participation of the Korean companies», Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.
«The intergovernmental commission for trade and economic cooperation, the Business Council were established. The countries enjoy regular air service», he added.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also stressed that the Republic of Korea is one of the top 10 priority countries for the Republic of Kazakhstan in terms of trade development, as well as of investment and technological cooperation.
At a press briefing on the Kazakhstan–South Korea summit, held shortly after the talks, Kim Hyun-chong, Second Vice-Director of the National Security Office at the South Korean Presidential Palace, said, «President Moon obtained firm support for his New Northern Policy from the leaders of the three Central Asian countries during this tour and increased the prospects for increasing the expansion of South Korean businesses into Central Asia».
«He also achieved results in terms of repatriating the remains of independence fighters and brightening the spirits of 300,000 Koryoins (ethnic Koreans living in former Soviet states)», he added.
Kim described the leaders of the Central Asian countries as having worked to offer Mr. Moon Jae-in respectful treatment.
«President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan accompanied him throughout his schedule apart from his meeting with ethnic Koreans and said he would regard South Korea as a model for national development», he said.
«President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow of Turkmenistan also accompanied him for his entire schedule apart from a flower-dedication event», Kim continued. «In particular, he accompanied Mr. Moon Jae-in at a gas chemical plant in Kiyanly about 500km from the capital».
«President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan came to his hotel on the day of his visit for an unscheduled meeting over tea and accompanied him to a business forum», Second Vice-Director of the National Security Office said.
Kim also talked about significant results in economic terms.
«Mr. Moon Jae-in supported project orders for South Korean companies amounting to US$13 billion on a total of 24 projects (five in Turkmenistan, 15 in Uzbekistan, and four in Kazakhstan), and received proposals for cooperative efforts amounts to US$12 billion in Uzbekistan and US$3.2 billion in Kazakhstan», he added.