An article by former National Assemblyman Kim Yong-gu
Islam Karimov: the truly
The following article was contributed by former National Assemblyman Kim Yong-gu of the Republic of Korea on the occasion of the 22nd anniversary of independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan.--Ed.
It is a high privilege for me to address today the esteemed readers of The Korea Post on the occasion of a 22nd Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Today I would like to share with the readers of this reputed magazine my personal observation of a key role of the country’s leader - President Islam Karimov - in gaining Uzbekistan’s independence, strengthening the country’s sovereignty, improving the livelihood of its people and raising the international standing of the young republic on the world arena.
I have been to Uzbekistan on a number of occasions: as a Chairman of the Korean Federation of Small and Medium Business, as a Member of the National Assembly of Korea and as a head of a private company. I had the honor to meet in person with President Karimov who has impressed me by his deep knowledge of geopolitics and international economy as well as by his far-sightedness and modesty.
It is actually impossible to illustrate the many-sided personality of President Islam Karimov in a short article, since it’s difficult to over-appreciate the contribution of the leader of Uzbekistan in acquiring and strengthening the independence of the country, in transforming it to a democratic nation with dynamic economic growth, and in its becoming a full member of the international community.
On the 31st of August, 1991 the national independence of Republic of Uzbekistan was declared. At that time, no one could even imagine what kind of complex and difficult challenges were facing the young independent state, which recently appeared on the world map.
The most serious threat was posed by the legal vacuum in the breakdown of internal and external security, the risk of inter-ethnic, inter-religious, inter-regional and clan conflicts, and the growth of radicalism. In a nutshell, it was necessary to protect the nation from internal and external conflicts.
During that difficult time, it was essential to acquire self-preservation, endurance and strong political will, and to develop a comprehensively considered and calibrated strategy for pulling the country out of the deep crisis and mobilizing constructive power of the society for that purpose.
The strategy of political and economic development as well as of construction of the nation and society, which is developed with the direct involvement of President Karimov, had its foundation on the historical and cultural features of Uzbekistan’s people and a strict assessment of the natural, economic and human potential of the nation.
In a historically short period of time there has been developed and adopted the basic law - the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan, which clearly sets out the basic principles of state and nation building of the country.
President Islam Karimov developed a unique model for Uzbekistan's transition to a socially oriented free market economy, which is based on five principles: de-idealization; pragmatic economic policy, manifested in the primacy of economy over politics; appointment of the state as the main reformer; the rule of law; enforcement of a strong social policy and consistency in the implementation of reforms.
Thanks to the fundamental changes and reforms in the political system, Uzbekistan has been able to ensure rapid and sustainable development of its economy. Since the independence, Uzbekistan's economy has grown 3.7 times, real per capita income increased seven-fold, life expectancy has increased by an average of 7 years.
Uzbekistan has achieved important strategic objectives - energy and grain self-sufficiency. Coherent implementation of large-scale modernization programs and technical and technological renovation of enterprises involving the most advanced technologies have accelerated the development of high-tech industries such as energy, oil, gas, non-ferrous metal, chemical, textile, machinery, automobile, pharmaceutical and microbiology industries, which are the engines of our economic growth.
The growth of GDP in 2013 marked 8.2%, while in the period of 2000 till 2011, GDP grew by more than two-fold. This shows that Uzbekistan is among the fastest growing economies in the world.
It is also important to mention the significant achievement in the field of education of the young generation, which is one of the government’s priorities. In 1997, under the leadership of President Karimov, the national education program was established. This unique program was designed for the transition to a 12-year education, which allows holistic continuous learning.
Uzbekistan’s positive results in reforming its economy, facilitating sustainable and balanced economic growth, and implementing anti-crisis measures have been recognized by a number of reputable and leading international financial and economic institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank.
President Karimov is a strong supporter of the close relations with the Republic of Korea. He has made a great contribution to developing multifaceted Uzbekistan-Korea cooperation that currently has reached a level of strategic partnership.
Оne should note that from the outset of Uzbekistan’s independence, the Republic of Korea has been providing consistent support in the implementation of large-scale national programs of fundamental reform and comprehensive modernization of economy and social sphere of Uzbekistan.
South Korea currently is one of the top-priority partners of Uzbekistan for trade, economy and investment. Over the past 10 years, bilateral trade has increased more than four-fold, and in 2012 it amounted to more than $2.1 billion. Each year one see a growing number of Uzbek-Korean joint projects in the automobile, textile, construction, telecommunications, transport and mining sectors, which have truly become a symbol of Uzbek-Korean long-term cooperation. During the State visit of President Islam Karimov to the Republic of Korea that took place last September the two countries signed investment contracts worth over $5.0 billion.
President Karimov has also made a great contribution to supporting ethnic Koreans’ diaspora in Uzbekistan that exceeds 200 thousand people. The Government of Uzbekistan has created all conditions for their social, national-spiritual and cultural development as well as those of other nations and nationalities living in the country.
In conclusion, I would like to extend to President Islam Karimov my sincerest and heartfelt congratulations on the 22nd Anniversary of Independence of the country and wish His Excellency and to the people of Uzbekistan - well-being and prosperity.
Kim Young Gu, President of “Shindong Resources”, is the former Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and former Chairman of Korean Federation of Small and Medium Business k