The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
Independence made it possible to realize the age-old dream of the Uzbek people to build their life and future freely, to create the foundations of a free and prosperous Motherland. Independence Day, which restored our human dignity, pride and honor, national statehood, will always remain the brightest page in the glorious history of our country.
During the past 31 years of independence, our country has traveled a difficult, but at the same time, honorable path. In particular, the reforms initiated by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during the last six years have paved the way for renewal and fundamental changes in all aspects of our social life.
The 31st anniversary of our country's independence is celebrated under the slogan "In the New Uzbekistan, the dignity of man, the interests of the people are the highest value!"
If we summarize the achievements and successes achieved during the past years of independence, it is possible to witness that centuries-old innovations and creative works have been realized in our country on every fields.
For the past thirty-one years, no matter what dangerous and difficult times we have experienced, no matter what achievements and results we have achieved, the idea of independence, the spirit of independence has always been a support for us like a mountain.
Today, we can proudly say that with the foresight, solidarity, and selfless work of our wise people, we have successfully passed all the tests.
From this point of view, the Independence Day, which restored our human dignity, pride and honor, our religion and national statehood, will always be the brightest page in the glorious history of our Motherland.
Today, when talking about our country, the phrase "New Uzbekistan" is mentioned. This is a recognition of the tremendous achievements we have made in the last six years, that we have entered a completely new stage of development.
The reforms implemented at the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev are creating all the conditions for the opening of our country to the whole world. The world is also in its place, turning to Uzbekistan.
Since independence, the Republic of Uzbekistan has been closely cooperating with all the developed countries of the world, as well as with the Republic of Korea.
Although Uzbekistan and South Korea are located far from each other, they are connected by long-term ties of friendship and beneficial cooperation. The art, culture, national mentality and hard work of the two peoples are similar and close to each other. Our countries are reliable strategic partners that have passed the test of time. As a result of high-level dialogues and common aspirations, the cooperation of our countries is consistently developing in all directions.
Uzbekistan and South Korea have been cooperating effectively in the fields of information technology, digital medicine, education, and culture.
The Korean education model is one of the most exemplary experiences in the world. It is for this reason that the preschool education system of our country was completely reformed based on the advanced experience and knowledge of our partners in Korea.
Higher education institutions of our country have established cooperation with more than 50 research institutions in South Korea. Five branches of universities of the Republic of Korea have been opened in our capital.
The outlook and customs of Uzbek and Korean peoples are similar. The closeness of the mentality of the peoples of our countries and the large Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan play an important role in the development of friendly relations between our countries.
Our countries supported each other in the most difficult times. Today, more than 180 thousand Korean diasporas living in Uzbekistan have become an integral part of our multinational society. The Association of Korean Cultural Centers is operating in our capital, and its divisions are operating in the regions.
The association is actively working to preserve and develop the Korean language, culture, customs and traditions in our country and abroad.
The medical field is also an important area of cooperation. As a result of the first major joint project implemented in medicine, since 2020, Children's Multidisciplinary Clinic has been operating in Tashkent.
Here, in the future, a unique medical cluster will be built, which will include a clinic for the elderly, an oncology center and a medical university.
With the financial and technical support of the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Uzbek specialists are improving their skills in leading clinics and centers in South Korea, and Korean doctors are conducting medical examinations of our country's residents on an impartial basis.
Today, as a new direction of cooperation, negotiations are underway to sign a free trade agreement between the two countries in order to balance the imbalance of foreign trade turnover between the Republic of Uzbekistan and South Korea and to diversify the nomenclature of export-import operations.
At the same time, South Korea is helping the Republic of Uzbekistan to become a member of the World Trade Organization.
As the President of Uzbekistan noted, we look at the country of South Korea and the Korean people with special sincerity. Regardless of the distance between our countries, the Korean people are very close to us in their mentality, spiritual values and traditions.
Our people highly appreciate the wonderful human qualities of the Korean people. In this place, of course, we are talking about hard work and aspiration, selflessness and courage, powerful spiritual courage and high intellectual potential.
It is noteworthy that the officials of the Republic of Korea also recognized that our peoples are connected by historical ties, similar traditions, and spiritual and cultural closeness.
Actually, as I mentioned above, although Uzbekistan and South Korea are geographically far from each other, their peoples are close in heart and share the goal of peace and development.
According to the historical sources, our countries have been visiting each other since the time of the Great Silk Road.
This is just one example: in the middle of the 7th century, the wall paintings stored in the Afrosiyob Museum in Samarkand depict the ceremony of the reception of the ancient Korean ambassador by the ruler of Samarkand.
In short, today our countries have entered a new stage of mutual cooperation. In the future, both sides are equally interested in the further activation and development of relations in all areas.