By Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik with Editor Lee Kap-soo
“The total volume of investments in the Republic of Uzbekistan by the Republic of Korea have exceeded US$7 billion and this year the trade turnover between the two countries is expected to exceed US$3 billion.”
So disclosed Ambassador Vitaliy Fen of Uzbekistan in Seoul at a gala reception he and Madam Fen hosted at the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the Independence of Uzbekistan and the 28th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Uzbekistan.
Ambassador Fen then noted, “The closeness of mentality of the peoples of the two countries and the large Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan play an important role in the development of friendly relations between our countries.”
The reception was all but the fist one of such a large scale in Seoul since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Korea and almost all the other countries of the world.
Special attention has obviously been paid to the safety and health of each guest at the part as everyone wore a mask and an adequate distance was maintained between the guests to ensure the safety of the guests as the party was held amid a situation where the number of new cases of COVID-19 ranged between 50 and 100 persons.
The guest attendance was also very remarkable. They included: Presidential Secretary Yeo Han Koo for New Southern and Northern Policy; Deputy Minister Park Ki Young for Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; and Director General Kim Pil Woo for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (For further details, see list at the bottom of this report.)
Speaking to the guests, Ambassador Fen then brought forward the detailed information about the achievements of Uzbekistan over the years of independence as well as the essence and content of the State Program on implementation of the Strategy of Action in five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 in the "Year of development of science, education and the digital economy."
Special attention was paid to measures taken in the country under the leadership of President Mirziyoyev to increase socio-economic activity of the population, including the development of entrepreneurship and the creation of favorable investment climate, reforms in the spheres of education and healthcare, targeted social support of vulnerable groups of population, improvement of youth policy in the country.
It was also noted about the main areas of interaction within the framework of the practical implementation of the agreements reached at the highest level on the comprehensive strengthening of the multifaceted Uzbek-Korean cooperation.
The main official guest from the government of the Republic of Korea was the Deputy Minister Park Ki-Young for Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
On behalf of the government and nation of the Republic of Korea Park congratulated Uzbekistan on its 29th anniversary of the Independence. He commended the dynamic development of Uzbek-Korean relations, which have century-old history and today have been raised to the level of special strategic partnership, as well as the new stage of reforms under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Uzbekistan to develop all spheres of the country’s life.
According to Park, regular dialogue between the leaders of the two countries, which has become one of the distinctive features of Uzbek-Korean relations, plays a key role in the consistent promotion and deepening of bilateral cooperation. It is confirmed by the 16 high level summits that took place since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two states.
As Park said, located at the center of Silk Road, Uzbekistan is a priority trade, economic and investment partner of the Republic of Korea. For the last 3 years, our bilateral trade has grown significantly, and given our complementary economic structures, our trade is expected to grow even more in the future.
There is a great untapped potential for further building up partnerships in the investment and trade spheres. The Korean government is committed to active interaction with the Uzbek side, and is ready to make every effort to ensure that our economic relations acquire new dynamics.
The fruitful and close engagement in countering the spread of COVID-19 has once again demonstrated the high level of special relationship between the two countries. The Korean side is expected to continue to provide systematic support to Uzbekistan in the fight against coronavirus and its negative impact on the economy.
It is noteworthy that the first foreign delegation that Korea received since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic was a delegation from the Republic of Uzbekistan headed by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan-Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov at the beginning of July this year. This once again confirms the special level of strategic partnership relations, the desire of the two countries to further strengthen it.
The main events of bilateral cooperation this year were telephone conversations between the Presidents of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea held in April and October.
Deputy Minister Park said, “I will continue to contribute to the further expansion of the multifaceted ties between our countries.”
Park also reaffirmed his commitment to fully support Uzbekistan in the process of joining the World Trade Organization.
Presidential Secretary Yeo Han-Koo for New Southern and New Northern Policy also made a congratulatory speech. Yeo congratulated people of Uzbekistan on the 29th anniversary of Independence, stressed that relations between two states have been rapidly developing after mutual visits at the highest level in 2017 and 2019.
He said: “We highly appreciate the firm commitment from the Uzbek side to fully realize all agreements and to strengthen multifaceted partnership between Korea and Uzbekistan. President Moon Jae-in has declared the 2020 as the ‘Year of New Northern Policy.’ Uzbekistan is a key priority partner of our country in this policy and we are pleased to achieve tangible and real results in bilateral relations over the past year,” Yeo Han Koo noted.”
The special satisfaction on the part of the participants in the solemn event was caused by the speech of Ambassador Fen in the Uzbek language and the performance of the song, "Ulugimsan Vatanim," and other Uzbek songs by famous Korean Artist Kang Joo-Won.
As part of the event, a photo exhibition was also held, telling about the achievements of the Republic over the years of independence and historical sights, as well as the investment and tourism potential of the country.
The most popular national dishes of Uzbek cuisine, such as plov and somsa, prepared by the owner of the “Tourism Fidoisi” badge, the chef of the Lazzat restaurant in Seoul, Makhmud Abdullayev, were appreciated by all the participants in the celebration party.
Copies of the special edition of The Korea Post magazine and The Korea Times in Korean and English with detailed materials on Uzbekistan, its modern development, history, culture and traditions, published on the eve of the holiday, were distributed among the audience.
The solemn event, which was the first major event since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was held in full compliance with the quarantine requirements of the host country.
Excerpts from the welcome speech of Ambassador Vitaliy Fen:
First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude to all guests for their participation in today's solemn event on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of our country’s Independence and the 28th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, 16 meetings have been held at the level of heads of state.
I especially want to note that the historic State visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, to the Republic of Korea in November, 2017, determined new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation.
In addition, The Joint Declaration on Special Strategic Partnership, signed during the state visit to Uzbekistan by South Korean President H.E. Moon Jae-in, in April, 2019, demonstrates that relations between our countries have reached a new high level.
Within the framework of the visits, agreements on implementation of joint projects and programs in trade-economic, investment, financial and technical spheres totaling more than 22 billion US dollars were signed.
The most important events of this year in bilateral relations were the telephone conversations between the heads of state on April 13 and October 6.
At the same time, the visit of government delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Mr. Sardor Umurzakov to Korea was organized on July 6-8.
It is noteworthy that the first foreign delegation that the Republic of Korea has received since the start of the coronavirus pandemic was a delegation from the Republic of Uzbekistan. This once again demonstrates amicable relations between the heads of two states.
Close Inter-parliamentary cooperation plays an important role, which helps to raise the relations between our countries to an even higher level.
The first foreign visit of the parliamentary delegation to Korea, led by H.E. Tanzila Narbaeva, who was appointed in 2019 as Chairwoman of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, can be a great example of this.
It should be noted that the Republic of Uzbekistan fully supports the goals of the "New Northern Policy" put forward by the President H.E. Moon Jae-in and is interested in implementing promising projects under this initiative.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Government and companies of the Republic of Korea for the humanitarian assistance provided in the form of test systems, medical equipment and materials to combat coronavirus, as well as sending highly qualified specialists to Uzbekistan in order to share their experiences.
For more than two months, Korean experts Dr. Choi Jae Wook and Dr. Yoon Seung Zhoo shared their experience in pandemic control in our country. According to the decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Professor Choi Jae-Wook was awarded the “Salomatlik” Order of the 1st degree for his active efforts to fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, dozens of major projects have been completed as well as are currently being implemented in various sectors of the economy with investments from leading South Korean companies.
In particular, this year, with the support of the Korean government, a Children's Multidisciplinary modern Medical Center was build in accordance with the highest international standards in Tashkent.
The agreement on the transfer of “Angren” Free Economic Zone to the management of the “Incheon” Free Economic Zone is of particular importance.
Currently, the number of enterprises with the participation of South Korean capital in Uzbekistan has reached about 900.
The total volume of investments of the Republic of Korea in economy of our country has exceeded 7 billion US dollars.
This year, the trade turnover between the two countries is expected to exceed 3 billion US Dollars.
The closeness of the mentality of the peoples of two states and the large Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan play an important role in the development of friendly relations between our countries.
The opening of the “House of Korean Culture and Arts” in Tashkent is another evidence of the strong friendship between our nations and the high level of relations between our countries.
Additionally, universities such as the Uzbek State University of World Languages, the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages offer Korean language courses.
Opening branches of Inha, Bucheon, Ajou, Yeoju Universities in Uzbekistan and International University in Ferghana city demonstrates the promising partnership between the two countries in the field of education.
Within the framework of establishing close ties at the municipal level, the relationships between Tashkent and Seoul, Fergana and Incheon, Samarkand and Gyeongju and many other cities are becoming stronger day by day.
In conclusion of my speech, I would like to once again extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of you, who joined the celebration of such an important day.
Taking this opportunity, I wish you all good health, peace of mind and good luck! Thank you for your attention.
List of major guests:
The guest attendance was also very remarkable. They included: Presidential Secretary Yeo Han Koo for New Southern and Northern Policy; Deputy Minister Park Ki-Young for Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy; Director General Kim Pil Woo for European Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan; Chairman Kim Deokyoung of Bomi Engineering & Construction; Chairman Park Seung Kwen of Hwaseong Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik of the CJ Group; Chairman Kim Yong Gu of Korea-Uzbekistan Business Association; Chairman Choi Choi Yong-sun of Hanshin Engineering & Construction; Advisor Kim Chang Keon of Prime Minister; Senior Vice President Cho Sang Hyun of KIA Motors; Chung Ihn Hwa of Chung Hospital; Vice President Lim Jae-Sung of POSCO International; Asia Director Kim Jinyoung of Global Green Growth Institute; Vice President Eum Hong-Seok of Communication Office of Hyundai Engineering; Senior Vice President Kim Tae Yup of Governmental and International Affairs of Asiana Airlines; Chairman Ryu Jea Yup of Seo Joong Logistics Group; President Choi, Moon Kyu of Hanshin Engineering & Construction; Kim Dong Yul of Plus International; Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media; CEO Moon Sangjin of Listem Corporation; President Lee Bong Seung of the Korea Federation of Jewelry Industry; President Lee Seung-Tae of Daedong Industrial; President Chi Chang Hoon of Korean Air; President of Lee Se-in of Carven Korea; and President Kang Seok-chang of Somang Global.