This is an address of Ambassador Vitaliy Fen of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul contributed for the readers of The Korea Post media on the occasions of the 30th anniversary of Independence of Uzbekistan and 29th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Uzbekistan.—Ed.
Address of His Excellency Vitaliy Fen, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Republic of Korea, to the readers of the “The Korea Post” on the occasions of the 30th Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Uzbekistan and 29th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea.
It is a high privilege for me to address today the esteemed readers of The Korea Post on the occasions of the 30th Anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence and 29th Anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea.
Over the past five years, under the leadership of the distinguished President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has clearly seen a steady pace of development in all areas. An effective multilateral foreign policy has become an important factor in increasing export potential and expanding economic opportunities of Uzbekistan.
The ideas and initiatives advanced by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Action Strategy defined for 2017-2021, open up wide opportunities for deepening socio-economic reforms, further strengthening trade, economic, investment ties with other states.
As it was emphasized by the Esteemed President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the underlying idea of progressive reforms, which are carried out in Uzbekistan is not people to serve the state bodies, but the state bodies to serve the people. In fact, this idea is very similar to the Korean main concept, which defines people as true head of the state.
The foundation for the development of bilateral relations between our states was laid on December 30, 1991, when the Republic of Korea was among the first countries to recognize the Independence of Uzbekistan. Diplomatic relations were established on January 29, 1992. Since that moment, an active political dialogue has been conducted between the two states, as evidenced by the sixteen high-level meetings held over this 28-year period.
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 advancement and deepening of bilateral cooperation.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae In, made his first state visit to this country in November 22-24, 2017.
The historic state visit of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Republic of Korea was comprehensively fruitful and identified new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
Special emphasis should be given to the reciprocal visit of President Moon Jae-in to Uzbekistan on April 18-21, 2019, which can rightly be called as historical and unique in spirit. All this is confirmed by signing the Joint Declaration on a special strategic partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.
As a result of the business forum with the participation of the two presidents, investment agreements, amounting for $ 12 billion were signed. In general, the visit was assessed by both sides as the visit at the highest level.
During Moon Jae In’s stay in Uzbekistan on April 20, the opening ceremony of the House of Korean Culture and Art was held with the participation of the two leaders together with their spouses. Moon Jae-in said that “This center of friendship, peace and harmony will become a common home for the Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan, Korean expats working here and all Uzbek people. The House will connect our brotherly nations and countries that have a lot in common. "
Among the main goals of the construction of the House is to create favorable conditions for the preservation of the cultural heritage, traditions and art of the Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan, as well as to familiarize representatives of other nations and people of Uzbekistan with them.
2020 on October 30, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev addressed the Second International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation in Seoul, via videoconference.
In his speech, the President of Uzbekistan emphasized that amid the complicated situation in the world and the global crisis, such a multilateral dialogue allows to effectively confront new challenges and threats, contributing to stability, wellbeing and sustainable development of the countries.
It was proposed to continue joint work in key areas, including the development of effective vaccines and serums, systems for rapid and accurate diagnosis of diseases on the basis of a pharmaceutical cluster created jointly with Korean companies.
Special attention was paid to enhancing mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of Central Asia - Republic of Korea Forum. The objective need for bringing interaction within the framework of this format to a new, higher level and hold a meeting of the Forum with participation of the heads of government was noted.
Despite the conditions of the pandemic, in the first half of 2021, an active dialogue was maintained at the high and highest levels. The main event in bilateral relations in the political sphere happened in January 28 of this year, the first online summit between the presidents of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea, which made it possible to comprehensively analyze the current state of cooperation and outline promising directions for its further deepening.
The agenda of negotiations included the acute issues of development and strengthening Uzbekistan – Korea centuries-long friendship and special strategic partnership.
Opening up the event and warmly greeting one another, the heads of states have emphasized that this meeting is the first summit for both sides this new year. This once again testifies about the highest level of bilateral cooperation.
As it was emphasized, despite the consequences of pandemics, the multifaceted relationship between Uzbekistan and Korea continued to dynamically develop. Last year the leaders of the countries have held two telephone conversations and jointly participated in the International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation.
In complex conditions the sides have ensured implementation of the large investment and trade projects. They have also launched the new sites of cooperation. Among them, there is a unique in the region – the modern children’s multidisciplinary medical center established in Tashkent with the support and participation of the South Korean partners.
President of Uzbekistan has highly appreciated the tangible contribution of the Korean side to the international efforts on combatting the new coronavirus infection and expressed deep gratitude for profound practical support rendered to Uzbekistan in prevention, effective treatment and rehabilitation of persons to have overcome this dangerous disease.
Speaking about bilateral relations, the leaders stood up for further strengthening special strategic partnerships and enhancing comprehensive cooperation.
The sides have agreed to continue the regular political consultations, strengthen the parliamentary exchanges and prepare the program of bilateral events on celebrating the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In the economic sphere, productive work was emphasized, which was put in place at the level of governments and agencies of Uzbekistan and Korea. The Presidents have instructed to continue these contacts to advance the investment projects and rapidly addressing the emerging issues.
It was emphasized that this year, within the framework of ongoing projects with the participation of Korean partners, the implementation of investments for up to $400 million is expected. Moreover, 55 new projects are being prepared in high-tech industries worth more than $3.4 billion, including the power-generating sector, oil and gas complex, chemistry and petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, refining industry, agriculture, infrastructure upgrade, transport and logistics, tourism and many other sectors.
A high assessment was given to the effective cooperation with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) and Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in promoting the bilateral priority programs.
The heads of states have noted the importance of increasing the mutual trade volume. In recent years, record levels of trade turnover have been achieved.
Special attention was paid to the issues of leveling the imbalance and diversification of the range of export-import operations, interactions of phytosanitary services to expand the supply of agricultural products.
To this end, the parties will start the negotiations to conclude a bilateral free trade agreement.
President Moon Jae-in has once again reaffirmed that the Korean side will provide all-round support in the matter of Uzbekistan’s accession to the World Trade Organization.
The schedule of the upcoming events at the highest level was considered. President Moon Jae-in has confirmed the invitation to President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to pay a visit to the Republic of Korea.
Following the summit, a Memorandum of Cooperation in the digitalization was signed to promote the fourth industrial revolution, an Agreement on the Three-Year Program Implementation with the EDCF for $1 billion, loan agreements on the projects for the construction of a modern multidisciplinary clinic and a design institute – Center for Chemical Technology.
Moreover, the agreements have been concluded at the level of leading companies on the modernization of important energy infrastructure facilities in Uzbekistan.
The leaders have expressed deep satisfaction with the outcomes of the summit, which took place in a traditionally open, warm, constructive and friendly atmosphere.
They have both noted that the online meeting was a very timely one and in terms of their effectiveness did not succumb the practice of face-to-face meetings.
The Presidents have once again confirmed the decisive commitment to strengthen friendship and full-scale partnership and take to a new quality level the mutually beneficial cooperation in the interests of the two brotherly countries.
On May 30, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae In, took part in the Second International Summit “Partnership for Green Growth and Global Goals 2030” (P4G), in Seoul, via videoconference.
The agenda of the two-day forum includes issues of overcoming the consequences of climate change, green recovery and ensuring carbon neutrality, as well as the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The President of Uzbekistan outlined the key directions of the reforms being carried out in the country and shared his vision of the prospects for international cooperation in green recovery.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev emphasized that it is necessary to unite the efforts of the entire international community to make effective decisions on green and sustainable development.
Overcoming the global consequences of the Aral Sea catastrophe was identified as one of the priority tasks. In this regard, the Leader of Uzbekistan thanked all international partners for their support of the recently adopted, at the initiative of Uzbekistan, a special resolution of the UN General Assembly on declaring the Aral Sea region a zone of environmental innovations and technologies. It was proposed to continue active joint work in this direction, including within the framework of the specially created UN Trust Fund, the Global Green Growth Institute, on the platform of the P4G Partnership and other international institutions.
Serious concern was expressed about the reduction in the flow of transboundary rivers and biodiversity in the region due to climate change, the problems of greenhouse gases and air pollution.
The commitment of Uzbekistan to fulfill its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under the Paris Agreement was confirmed.
It was noted that the widespread introduction of green technologies and the implementation of projects in green energy in Uzbekistan will allow in the next ten years to increase the share of renewable energy sources by more than 3 times.
An initiative has been put forward to hold an International Conference “Green Energy for Developing Countries” next year, as well as to launch a special program to attract young people to create a green economy for forming a culture of green consumption.
The President declared Uzbekistan’s readiness to join the P4G Partnership and become its full-fledged participant to enhance practical cooperation in this important area.
Further strengthening of cooperation between the two countries is facilitated by consistently developing cultural and humanitarian ties, especially in the areas of education, medicine, tourism and sports.
The Seoul Park in Tashkent, effectively functioning since 2014, the Korean House of Culture and Arts, which was built in Tashkent with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea, as well as the renaming of one of the streets in Tashkent in honor of Seoul are vivid examples of cooperation in this field, as a symbol of special relations between the two countries.
The Korean Diaspora in Uzbekistan, one of the largest in the world, plays an important role in strengthening friendly relations between our two countries. In 2022 the Korean diaspora will celebrate the 85th Anniversary of their residing on the hospitable Uzbek land that became their second motherland.
Relations are developing dynamically in the sphere of education. The universities of our country are cooperating with more than 30 scientific research institutions of South Korea. Centers of Korean language and culture are opened in a number of educational institutions. Additionally, the Korean language is taught at the Uzbek State University of World Languages, the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies and the Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages. Successful activity of Inha University in Tashkent since 2014 is an eloquent example of the prospects of partnership in the field of education. At present, Uzbekistan has branches of six Korean universities that train highly qualified specialists in the field of information technology, engineering, medicine and logistics at the level of international standards.
Within the framework of establishing close ties at the municipal level, the relationships between Tashkent and Seoul, Fergana and Incheon, Samarkand and Gyeongju, Yangiyul and Yangsan as well as many other cities are becoming stronger day by day.
All-in-all, over the past 29 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations Tashkent and Seoul have forged a genuine strategic partnership and currently are closely cooperating with each other in further advancing multifaceted cooperation in various fields and strengthening mutually beneficial bilateral relations that serve the interest of the two countries and their nations.
In conclusion, taking this opportunity, I would like to wish to the esteemed readers of this reputed newspaper every success in all their endeavors, longevity and well-being.