Korea, Uzbekistan upgrade bilateral relations to a special strategic partnership
Korea, Uzbekistan upgrade bilateral relations to a special strategic partnership
  • Lee Kyung-sik
  • 승인 2019.09.16 17:00
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Says Ambassador Fen of Uzbekistan in Seoul on Independence Day

By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan (forth from left front row) and President Moon Jae-in (third from left front row) attend the opening ceremony of a joint Uzbek-Korean business forum with other dignitaries during Moon's state visit to Uzbekistan in April 2019.

On the occasion of the 28th Anniversary of the Independence Day of Uzbekistan on Sept. 2, 2019, Ambassador Vitaly Fen of Uzebekistan in Seoul said, “The Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea have upgraded their relations to the level of Strategic Partnership.”

Ambassador Vitali Fen of Uzbekistan in Seoul

In a special message transmitted to The Korea Post media for publication on that occasion, Ambassador Fen stated, “Today, Uzbekistan is demonstrating a steady pace of development in all spheres under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and effective multilateral foreign policy serves as an important factor of increasing the export potential and expanding economic opportunities of Uzbekistan.”

Excerpts from the speech statement follow:

It is a high privilege for me to address today the esteemed readers of «The Post» on the occasions of the 28th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence and 27th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea.

After gaining independence, Uzbekistan took a worthy place in the world community. Over the years, a great creative work has been carried out. Human honor and dignity are exalted, well-being of people is ensured, appearance of our cities and villages has radically changed.

Today, Uzbekistan is demonstrating a steady pace of development in all spheres under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Effective multilateral foreign policy serves as an important factor of increasing the export potential and expanding economic opportunities of Uzbekistan.

As President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that the successive reforms that are being implemented in Uzbekistan are based on the noble idea, according to which people must not serve the Government bodies, rather the Government bodies must serve the people, drawing attention to the fact that it is consonant with the main idea in South Korea – people are true owners of the state.

The foundation of bilateral relations between our states was laid on December 30, 1991, when the Republic of Korea among the first countries recognized Uzbekistan’s independence. Subsequently, the diplomatic relations were established on January 29, 1992.

The Republic of Korea is one of Uzbekistan’s most reliable and time-tested strategic partners, as well as leading and largest investors in our Republic.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, 16 meetings have been held at the level of heads of state.

Presidents Moon of Korea and Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan (second and third from left, respectively) are flanked on the left by the First Lady of Korea and the First Lady of Uzbekistan on the right.

I especially want to note that the historic State visit of H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to the Republic of Korea, which was held on November 22-24, 2017, determined new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Within the framework of the visit, more than 60 documents worth more than 10 billion US dollars were signed in trade and economic, investment, financial, technical and other spheres. Of these, 4.5 billion US dollars are direct Korean investments.

Dozens of major projects have been implemented and are being implemented in various sectors of the economy with investments from leading South Korean companies. They include Surgil gas processing complex, textile factories in Fergana and Bukhara, Hyundai automobile manufacturing plant in Namangan, the largest in the region, and many other projects.

In further advancing and deepening bilateral cooperation, regular dialogue between the leaders of the two countries that has become one of the hallmarks of Uzbek-Korean bilateral relations, played an important role.

At the invitation of President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-In paid state visit to our country on April 18-21, 2019.

The fruitful negotiations of the heads of state was followed by the signing ceremony of bilateral documents took place.

The Presidents of Korea and Uzbekistan (left and right) shake hands with each other after their a fruitful conversation on the sustainable ties between the two countries.

Presidents Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Moon Jae-In signed a Joint Declaration on Special Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.

Documents have been signed between governments and ministries regarding the promotion and mutual protection of investments, exploration of space for peaceful purposes, cooperation in science, technology and innovation, creation of the Uzbek-Korean center for cooperation in the health sector, among others.

At a press briefing for the media, the Presidents expressed satisfaction with the results of the negotiations, which took place in a traditionally friendly atmosphere and in the spirit of openness and mutual understanding.

“Our talks have demonstrated that cooperation between Uzbekistan and South Korea in the political, trade, economic, investment, cultural, humanitarian and other fields fully meets the long-term interests of our peoples, as well as the proximity of positions on regional and international issues, security and stability,” Shavkat Mirziyoyev said. “The Joint Declaration on Special Strategic Partnership, inked today, testifies that the relations between our two countries have reached a completely new level.”

“I express my deep respect to the President of Uzbekistan, a country that has attracted the attention of the whole world today. With his reforms in all spheres – politics, economy, social life – Shavkat Mirziyoyev leads Uzbekistan into a new era of development. Today we have assigned the status of a special strategic partnership to bilateral relations. We’ve discussed the mechanisms for its implementation, new areas of cooperation, reached promising agreements,” Moon Jae-In said.

Ambassador Vitali Fen of Uzbekistan and Ambassador Mohamed Salem Alharthy of Oman (dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps), 10th and 11th from left, front row, respectively pose with other ambassadors on the stage at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Sept. 2, 2019 in celebration of the 28th Independence Day of Uzbekistan and the 27th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Uzbekistan.

It was stressed that during the visit, agreements were penned on the realization of programs and projects in the field of trade, economic, investment, financial and technical cooperation totaling more than 12 billion US dollars.

The two leaders discussed prospects of comprehensive cooperation between our two countries. The Presidents agreed on issues of searching for mutually beneficial areas of partnership, of active continuation of political dialogue and consultations for regular “synchronization of watches”.

Positive evaluation was given to the dynamics of trade and economic cooperation; it was noted that there are many opportunities for its further expansion. The need to improve the legal and institutional framework for this purpose, to intensify visits at various levels and contacts among the business communities was stressed.

Mrs. Lyudmila S. Fen (spouse of the ambassador of Uzbekistan, 7th from left) poses with the spouses of other ambassadors at the celebration reception of Uzbekistan's 28th Independence Day anniversary and the 27th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Korea at the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Sept. 2.

The Presidents also exchanged views on topical issues of the regional and international agenda of shared interest. It was noted that South Korea supports Uzbekistan’s practical efforts to consolidate the atmosphere of good-neighborliness in the region, mitigate the effects of the Aral tragedy, and promote the peace process in Afghanistan. Uzbekistan, in turn, supports the peace-loving policy of the Republic of Korea, aimed at building up harmony on the Korean Peninsula.

The main focus of the negotiations in an extended format at the Kuksaroy was on the development of practical interaction in the trade and economic, investment, financial and technical, cultural, humanitarian and other fields.

An important role in the development and implementation of mutually advantageous projects is attributed to the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. On March 4 this year, Tashkent hosted its ninth session. Since 2018, the format of meetings of Deputy Prime Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea on economic issues has been introduced.

In Uzbekistan, 690 enterprises operate with the participation of Korean investors. Over the past two years, the volume of trade between the two nations exceeded 2.1 billion dollars, the highest figure in recent years.

Many foreign envoys, Korean diplomats and entrepreneurs are attentatively listening to the welcoming remarks by Ambassador Fen. Ambassador Fen underscored the special strategic partnership formed during President Moon Jae-in's visit to Uzbekistan in April.

The Korean side welcomed the ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan aimed at liberalizing the economy and improving the investment climate. This will serve to boost Korean investments into Uzbekistan, increase the number of high-value-added industries and enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of technology.

President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that Uzbekistan is interested in enlarging interaction in the energy, oil and gas, chemical, mining, transport and logistics spheres, in implementing promising projects in the field of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, textile and food industry, and infrastructure development.

Ambassadors and Korean guests cut the celebration.

During the negotiations, new opportunities for partnership in these areas were discussed, and relevant proposals were considered. The parties agreed on the creation of joint ventures in leading sectors of the economy, free economic and small industrial zones of our country, the development of “electronic government”, and training of specialists for the innovation and social spheres.

Humanitarian relations are another important, complex direction of Uzbek-South Korean relations. Today, fruitful cooperation is maintained in the fields of information technology, digital medicine, education and culture. South Korea’s experience is widely introduced into the pre-school education system of our country. The head of our state stressed interest in furthering the cooperation in these areas. The South Korean President expressed his country’s readiness to share best practices and promote staff development.

Magnificent ice sculpture representing Uzbekistan.

Interparliamentary cooperation plays an important role, which helps to raise the relations between our countries to an even higher level. The first foreign visit of the parliamentary delegation led by Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairwoman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan, on august, 2019, is an example of this.

Further strengthening of cooperation between the two countries is facilitated by consistently developing cultural and humanitarian ties, especially in the areas of education, medicine, tourism and sports.

The Seoul Park in Tashkent, effectively functioning since 2014, the Korean House of Culture and Arts, which was built in Tashkent with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea, as well as the renaming of one of the streets in Tashkent in honor of Seoul are vivid examples of cooperation in this field, as a symbol of special relations between the two countries.

Ambassador Vitali Fen of Uzbekistan delivers a speech at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, on Sept. 2.

The Korean Diaspora in Uzbekistan, one of the largest in the world, plays an important role in strengthening friendly relations between our two countries. In 2017 the Korean diaspora celebrated the 80th Anniversary of their residing on the hospitable Uzbek soil that became their second motherland.

Relations are developing dynamically in the sphere of education. The universities of our country are cooperating with more than 30 scientific research institutions of South Korea. Centers of Korean language and culture are opened in a number of educational institutions.

Chairman Kim Chang-kun of the Korea-Uzbekistan Business Center (behind rostrum) gives a congratulatory speech .

Additionally, the Korean language is taught at the Uzbek State University of World Languages, the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages. Successful activity of Inha University in Tashkent since 2014 is aneloquent example of the prospects of partnership in the field of education. At present, Uzbekistan has branches of six Korean universities that train highly qualified specialists in the field of information technology, engineering, medicine and logistics at the level of international standards.

Within the framework of establishing close ties at the municipal level, the relationships between Tashkent and Seoul, Fergana and Incheon, Samarkand and Gyeongju, Yangiyul and Yangsan as well as many other cities becoming stronger day by day.

All-in-all, over the past 27 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations Tashkent and Seoul have forged a genuine strategic partnership and currently are closely cooperating with each other in further advancing multifaceted cooperation in various fields and strengthening mutually beneficial bilateral relations that serve the interest of the two countries and their peoples.

Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik (right) and Vice-Chairperson Cho Kyung-hee of The Korea Post media (right) pose with Gumpa Mudang (center), a famous Korean folk religious practitioner.

In conclusion, taking this opportunity, I would like to wish to the esteemed readers of this reputed magazine every success in all their endeavors, longevity and well-being.

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