By Lee Kyung-sik, Publisher of The Korea Post
With Prof. Jackson Ngari of Kenya
President Luis Guillermo Solis of the Republic of Costa Rica said that there are four important areas for increased cooperation between Korea and his country and they include security, health, small-medium industries and sports and academic areas.
Speaking at an exclusive interview with Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on Oct. 12, 2016, President Solis said that in fact he had a meeting with President Park Geun-hye at the Presidential Mansion of Cheong Wa Dae that day and signed a Memorandum of Agreement. Excerpts from the interview follow:
Question: What are the most important areas for increased cooperation between Costa Rica and Korea?
Answer: I met President Park Geun-hye and we signed four Memorandums of Understanding in mutually important areas, these are:-
(1) Security: The two governments will share techniques and information that give lead to good understanding of the two countries, for security purposes.
(2) Health Sector: The two governments will engage in different kinds of research structures especially in the area of surgery.
(3) Small and medium size enterprises (SME’S), and
(4) Sports innovations and academic issues.
The biggest decision that we have made is to scale our relationship to a high level. Now our bilateral relations are covered in an association of comprehensive assistance system partnership. That means we have really established a strategic alliance with Korea. This relationship has a status that is not in many countries. This is a unique association and one of its kind.
Costa Rica will become the first country in Central America to secure such kind of an agreement. We agreed that in the next six months we will set up a Task Force for both governments to shape up this agreements and come up with a whole set of practical projects that can strengthen these four arrears.
We look forward to having a whole set of projects that can benefit and enrich our relationship as well as both nations in diverse ways.
Q: What are the areas where Korean Businesses and companies are most welcome in Costa Rica?
A: We have a wide range of possibilities and opportunities. We have textiles industries, Daewoo motor vehicle assembling, where we assemble buses, we can also share advanced information and technology in this area. We can provide very good advanced technology.
The other area is of imports from Costa Rica to Korea. We are therefore calling for imports from Costa Rica particularly in the area of agricultural products like fresh tropical fruits, such as bananas and pineapples. Costa Rica has a large amount of coffee market opportunities, which is another area that the Korea people can explore.
Q: What are the priority areas of economic development and growth in Costa Rica?
A: Our economy is growing strong at a rate 4.2% GDP increase and that is double the economic growth in the whole of Latin America. Because of this stable economic growth, investment rate has gone up in the last 2 years up to 40% which is quite impressive. Korean people are welcome to Costa Rica because these are very good indicators of trade and stabilized economy.
Q: Please state whatever other details Costa Rica has concerning the bright outlook of economic development and various other areas in the most favorable new surroundings developing in the country?
A: Tourism is back and very strong in Costa Rica nowadays. We have an auspicious plan to build and strengthen the economy even better. Negotiations are ongoing in areas of economic cooperation. We see a very large amount of development wise partnerships that can come up from such cooperation.
Q: Please introduce yourself in detail and your view of Korea and the Korean People.
A: I am a former professor of history so am not a professional politician and I hope to go back into teaching after the May of 2018 when my term as president comes to an end.
Way back in the days as a history professor, I took time to read the history of Korea and I was fascinated by the growth of Korea as a nation. I have always admired Korea because it has a very specific history and very good way of preserving their culture even in severe circumstances as the history read.
My visit to Korea is a very emotional and passionate trip because Korea is one of the nations that I really admire and would want to appreciate their ability to spring back from many forms of external forces that have come to Korea in the past. I read Korea’s history as said earlier, about the Chinese invasion, the Japanese and the ability by the Korean people to rise up and come back on track.
Korea is one of the admired nations of the world.
I am also a passionate admirer of your classical poets. I like Korean dishes and food.
I therefore made it a point that during my time as a President I will ensure that I visit Korea. I may not visit any other country but make sure that I visit Korea.
About the President of Costa Rica:
President Luis Guillermo Solis, a former History Professor, is the 47th President of Costa Rica. Costa Rica has a population of approximately 4.5 million citizens, and President Solis has been at the fore front of strengthening one of Latin America’s oldest democracies. President Solis has great admiration for Korea as a nation and says that his visit was an emotional and passionate dream realized during his presidency.
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