The Republic of Uzbekistan has achieved a 5.5-fold GDP growth and a 9-fold increase in per-capita GNI (gross national income) in the past 24 years since the country won her independence. In terms of bilateral relations, the Korean-Uzbek ties are almost unrivalled in the fact that the President of Uzbekistan has had summit meetings with the Korean Presidents on 14 different occasions in the past 23 years since the diplomatic normalization between the two countries.
This was learned from a speech delivered by Ambassador Botirjon Asadov of Uzbekistan at a reception the Embassy hosted at the Crystal Ballroom of Lotte Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 31, 2015 in celebration of the independence anniversary of Uzbekistan. (Excerpts from the speech are at the end of this Article.)
An estimated 700 distinguished guests attended the gala reception from the government, business community and various other segments of Korean society as well as the international community, particularly the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Among the Korean dignitaries in attendance were former National Assembly Speaker Lee Man-sup, Minister Chong Jong-sup of Government Administration and Home Affairs, National Assemblyman Chang Yun-seok, Chairman Kim Yun-seek of Shindong Enercom, former National Assemblyman Kim Yong-koo, President & CEO Sergio Rocha and Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post.
Speaking in a congratulatory speech, Minister Chong, on behalf of the Korean government, said: “Uzbekistan was the hub country of the ancient Silk Road that connected the countries of the East and West as well as a brilliant cultural center of the region. Korea will provide an unreserved support for the construction of a New Silk Road with Uzbekistan.” Then he said that since Uzbekistan’s independence in 1992 Korea and Uzbekistan have been maintaining very close ties of cooperation in various fields, including energy, infrastructure building, transportation, diplomacy and security and safety.
Minister Chong also reminded that some 190,000 ethnic Koreans now live in Uzbekistan and over 10,000 young Uzbek people are working in various fields in Korea today.
From the Diplomatic Corps came many mission chiefs who included Ambassadors Mohammad Saleem Sayeb of Afghanistan, Derragui Mohammed Elamine of Algeria, Albino Malungo of Angola, Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan, Natallia Jhylevich of Belarus, Dato Paduka Haji Modh Rosli Bin Haji Sabtu of Brunei Darussalam , Petar Andonov of Bulgaria, Jario Lopez of Costa Rica (CDA), Sylvestre Kouassi Bile of Cote d'Ivoire, Grecia Fiodalicia Pichardo of Dominican Republic, Hassan Taherian of Iran, Dulat Bakisher of Kazakhstan, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi of Kuwait, Dlias Nicolas of Lebanon (CDA), Ganbold Baasanjav of Mongolia, Mohamed Salim Alharthy of Oman, Zahid Nasrulah Khan of Pakistan, Raul S. Hernandez of the Philippines, Krzysztof Majka of Poland, Alexander Andreevich Tomonin of Russia, Zoran Kazazovic of Serbia, Omrie Michael Golley of Sierra Leone, Yip Wei Kiat of Singapore, Gonzalo Ortiz Diaz-Tortosa of Spain, Kiromov Salohiddin of Tajikistan (CDA), Hakan Okcal of Turkey, Myrat Mammetalyyev of Turkmenistan, Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine and Mumba Smyth Kapumpa of Zambia.
From the international community also came many distinguished business leaders such as chief and senior executives of GM Korea, including President & CEO Sergio Rocha, President & COO James Kim and Vice President Juho Hahn for Government Relations and Public Policy.
Minister Chong made a congratulatory speech on behalf of the Korean government. He said in part: “Uzbekistan was the hub country of the ancient Silk Road that connected the countries of the East and West as well as a brilliant cultural center of the region. Korea will provide an unreserved support for the construction of a New Silk Road with Uzbekistan.” Then he said that since Uzbekistan’s independence in 1992 Korea and Uzbekistan have been maintaining very close ties of cooperation in various fields, including energy, infrastructure, transportation, diplomacy’ security and safety. Minister Chong also reminded that some 190,000 ethnic Koreans lived in Uzbekistan today and that over 10,000 young Uzbek people were now working in various fields in Korea.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Asadov:
First of all, allow me to express my sincere gratitude to all the guests for their participation in today's ceremony on the occasion of 24th Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Over the year of Independence the implementation of the "Uzbek model" of reforms based on the five principles of transition to a socially-oriented free market economy has allowed our country to achieve high results within a short historical period.
Today, the Republic of Uzbekistan is industrialized nation with rapidly growing economy and high potential, where industry's share in GDP reached 25%, and 60% of export-oriented and competitive products are produced in high-tech industries.
Speaking in the language of numbers, the economy of our country has grown more than 5.5 times and real income per capita increased by almost 9 folds. The attraction of 190 billion USD investments to the national economy over the past period has stimulated the creation of new spheres and industries such as automotive, oil, gas, chemical, railway engineering, and the production of modern building materials, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, modern food and textile industries.
From the outset of independence, the focus of the government has been devoted to the issue of social protection and education of harmoniously developed young generation.
Budget expenditures on consolidation and development of the social sphere are about 60%, which are primarily allocated for the provision of permanent attention and care of the elders, women and youth, ensuring their rights and interests, protection of family, motherhood and childhood, as well as other directions.
Significant work is being done to educate independently thinking, harmoniously developed young generation, possessing deep knowledge and professions, devoted to their country and people, who are becoming a decisive force of our present and future.
Successes and milestones of Uzbekistan are widely recognized by the international community, in particular by the World Economic Forum which ranked our country to be the fifth rapidly growing economy.
In this context, I would like to dwell on bilateral relations of strategic partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea based on mutual trust.
Uzbekistan considers the Republic of Korea a reliable partner that has been providing consistent support in the implementation of large-scale national programs of fundamental reform and deep modernization of its economy and social sphere.
In maintaining close bilateral collaboration an important role plays regular dialogue between the leaders of the two countries that has become one of the hallmarks of Uzbek-Korean relations. Over the past 23 years there have been 14 summit meetings between the heads of state of the two nations.
In June of last year, President Park Geun-hye paid a State visit to the Republic of Uzbekistan. In May of this year President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov paid a reciprocal State visit to South Korea. During the summit in Seoul the two leaders continued an open and trusting dialogue on the development of the Uzbek-Korean multi-faceted cooperation, assessed the pace of implementation of major investment projects, discussed priorities for cooperation in the future, as well as exchanged views on important international and regional issues of mutual interest. During the visit 60 documents and contracts were signed with the total amount exceeding $ 7.7 billion.
The bilateral relations in the economic field have been developing successfully. There are over 400 joint ventures operating in Uzbekistan. Trade turnover between Uzbekistan and South Korea accounts more than 2 billion USD, which is about half of the total trade turnover of South Korea with all countries of the Central Asian region.
His Excellency Chong Jong Sup, Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, is present today with us. With the efforts of H.E. Minister and representatives of this Ministry, bilateral relations between our countries in the field of ICT are deepening and expanding.
With the support of Korea extensive work in Uzbekistan is being carried out on launching e-government and creating a Joint venture to develop software products. In addition, the branch of Inha University has been opened in Tashkent. Currently Uzbek specialists on ICT are undergoing a six-month training course in the Republic of Korea.
Our countries successfully cooperate in the cultural sphere, especially in expanding exchanges and cooperation in education, tourism and sports. One striking example of such cooperation is the creation of Seoul Park in the capital of Uzbekistan - Tashkent, which has become another symbol of the special relationship between our countries.
Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan, which is one of the largest in the world, plays an important role in strengthening the friendly relations between our countries. During the State visit of President Park Geun-hye to Uzbekistan, Foreign Ministers of the two countries signed a MOU to establish the House of Korean culture and arts in Uzbekistan. Among the main objectives of the House is to create favorable conditions for the preservation of cultural heritage, traditions and art of the Korean community in Uzbekistan.
All-in-all I would to state that since our Independence the Uzbek-Korean relations have acquired in the full sense matured, meaningful character on the state and governmental levels, in cooperation between economic and commercial structures, banks, companies and firms as well as in humanitarian field and education. Therefore, we strongly believe that the strategic partnership between Tashkent and Seoul will be further coherently advanced and strengthened in the interests of the two countries and their peoples.
In conclusion, I wish you a sound health, happiness and every success in your endeavors.
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