A South Korean deputy prime minister will leave for Kazakhstan this week as part of his two-nation trip to Central Asia to celebrate the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between South Korea and the region, and the 80th anniversary of ethnic Koreans' settlement there, the Education Ministry said Sunday.
The four-day trip that begins Monday will also take Lee Joon-sik, who also serves as South Korea's education minister, to Uzbekistan.
During the trip, Lee will hold talks with senior officials in the two countries to discuss ways to enhance strategic partnerships with them.
He will also hold meetings with groups of ethnic Koreans residing in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to give them pep talks. Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are home to about 100,000 and 180,000 ethnic Koreans, respectively.
In the late 19th century, poor Korean farmers began to migrate into the Central Asian region and later some independence fighters resisting Japan's 1910-1945 colonial rule joined them. Koreans living in the Maritime Province of Siberia were deported to Central Asia in massive numbers in accordance with an order by Joseph Stalin in 1937.
Both Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have maintained close and friendly relations in the political, economic, social and cultural sectors with South Korean since they established diplomatic ties with Seoul in 1992. (Yonhap)