The following article was contributed by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
Turkmenistan, adhering to its foreign policy based on the principles of positive Neutrality, peacefulness, good neighborliness, policy of "Open doors" and broad cooperation, is constantly working on strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of its political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with neighboring and distant countries, with the United Nations and its entities, as well as other major international organizations.
During his speech at the Presidential inauguration ceremony, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov said, "Turkmenistan will continue the policy of neutrality based on good neighborliness, mutual respect, equality and mutually beneficial cooperation with all the countries of the world. The basic principles arising from the legal status of the neutrality of our country, specifically the strengthening of peace and security, the expansion of friendly and brotherly relations based on goodwill, the provision of sustainable development on the planet, will continue to be the priority directions of the foreign policy of Independent Turkmenistan."
At the present, our country is actively and on high pace working to pursue the multidirectional foreign policy.
Turkmenistan has established diplomatic relations with more than 150 countries around the world. Turkmenistan attaches great importance to further strengthening productive relations with the Republic of Korea, which is one of the rapidly growing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The 30th anniversary of the establishing the diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea was celebrated on 7 February 2022. It is worth mentioning that Turkmenistan and South Korea have similar views on regional and global events. At the present time, Turkmen-Korean cooperation, which is based on mutual respect and trust, has reached a qualitatively new level.
The opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Ashgabat in 2007 and the opening of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Seoul in 2013 was one of the important steps in the history of diplomatic relations between our countries. It is worth mentioning that new forms of active political and diplomatic cooperation have been established between the two countries. At the same time, carrying out high-level mutual state visits have a special place in building a reliable basis for friendly relations.
In particular, the State Visits of the President of Turkmenistan to the Republic of Korea that took place on 5-7 November 2008 and 11-14 April 2015 have further strengthened the relations between two countries. In addition, the State Visits of the President of the Republic of Korea to our country were arranged in 2014 and 2019.
During the summits, which were held in a friendly and in mutually understanding manner, sides identified the important areas for further expansion of bilateral relations and important directions of cooperation in trade and economic spheres. In order to implement them, meetings on different levels are being held to discuss these large-scale joint projects aimed at specific goals, which fully meet the interests of two countries, while relevant proposals are also being developed.
Furthermore, with the participation of Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Republic of Korea, as well as the heads of several other states, an international hybrid forum on Northern Economic Cooperation was held in Seoul on 18 November 2021.
Speaking at the International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation in Seoul on November 18, 2021, Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that Turkmenistan considers the Forum as an important international platform for discussing and developing strategic vectors of economic cooperation in Eurasia, as well as a successful continuation of mutually beneficial economic partnership with the Republic of Korea in a bilateral and multilateral format.
This is due to the similarities of Republic of Korea's "New Northern Policy" and Turkmenistan's "Revival of the Great Silk Road" initiatives. Both programs cover a wide range of fields, such as supply chain systems, green economy development, energy sector, transport, environment protection and the digitalization of the economy.
At this point, the intergovernmental relations between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea remain at the very high level. The relations between the foreign policy entities of the two countries in this direction, based on trust and respect, are at the core of bilateral cooperation.
The consistent political meetings should be mentioned as concrete examples of this. In particular, the 14th meeting of the "Central Asia-Korea" Cooperation Forum was held last year on November 30th in Dushanbe at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Bilateral talks between the heads of the foreign ministries of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea were held in the framework of this event.
During the talks, sides noted the positive dynamics of developments with gratification in bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea and discussed the future cooperation in various areas, such as energy, infrastructure, transport and logistics, science and technology, ICT, digitalization, textile and forestry, agriculture, climate change and environment protection, health care, culture and humanitarian cooperation.
As for inter-parliamentary relations, the International Forum on “the Role of Parliamentarians in Strengthening International Peace and Trust” was held with Turkmenistan's initiative through video conferencing on April 28, 2021.
During the meeting, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Hon. Park Byeong-seug highlighted that this event was a proof of Turkmenistan's commitment to restoring peace and trust throughout the world, as well as the opportunity to attain three axis of the UN ideology: sustainable development, maintenance of peace and security and the promotion of human rights.
A long-term trade and economic relations between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea play a key role in mutually beneficial trade and economic relations, in addition to the political and diplomatic system. In additional to the cooperation in the petrochemical, textile, transport, agricultural and other sectors, two countries have the necessary conditions to make the basis for promising high-tech, innovative areas that are the future of the economy.
As an effective instrument of bilateral relations, the meetings of the Turkmen-Korean intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation are regularly held. The work of the group has even more intensified in recent years, where necessary issues of mutually beneficial cooperation are being viewed.
It should be noted that the huge potential of Turkmenistan, which is considered one of the world's states with its vast energy reserves, and the economy of the Republic of Korea, with its harmonious development of the economy that requires additional energy resources, stimulate special interest in the cooperation in the energy sector.
The visit of the President of the Republic of Korea, together with the President of Turkmenistan, to the Kiyanly polymer plant during the State Visit to our country in April 2019 was a historical event. "LG International Corp" and "Hyundai Engineering" (Korea) with participation of "TOYO Engineering Corporation" (Japan) constructed this large gas-chemical complex by the order of the State Concern "Turkmengaz".
The construction of the Kiyanly polymer plant became a valuable contribution of Korean companies to the development of chemical and energy industries of Turkmenistan. The modern gas chemical complex that produces polyethylene and polypropylene is clear evidence of close cooperation and growing friendship between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea.
The second stage of the plant for gas purification from sulfur deposits in the Galkynysh field, the second stage of modernization of Turkmenbashi Complex of Oil Refineries, the production of gasoline from the natural gas, construction of steel plants can be shown as examples of large-scale projects implemented in our country with the participation of world-renowned Korean companies.
The successful work of Korean business community in the petrochemical, gas processing, automotive and other sectors of the economy in recent years can be characterized as fruitful. It is important to note that world-renowned Korean companies, such as LG and Hyundai, are making a worthy contribution to the development of the oil and gas and transport sectors of the Turkmen economy.
Cooperation between Turkmenistan and Korea in the transport sector has also shown its results. It is worth mentioning that most of the public buses and passenger cars used in our country were produced in Korea.
Furthermore, the fourth meeting of the Turkmen-Korean Business Council was also held last year on May 11 through video conferencing. The sides discussed opportunities for developing and expanding trade and economic relations between the two countries.
One of the important areas of bilateral relations is the cultural and humanitarian cooperation. It is based on centuries-long friendly and goodwill relations, spiritual, cultural values and traditions that unite Turkmen and Korean people.
The accumulation of positive experience through cooperation in the field of science and education, strengthening of cultural relations, the further expansion of the scope of creative relations should be also seen as positive result.
Along with Turkmenistan's approval of the decision to join the Global Green Growth Institute, the fruitful collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency is yet another proof.
The presentation of the Korean versions of "TRADITIONS OF TURKMEN STATEHOOD" book written by our Arkadag Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov was held on 7 February 2022, in the conference hall of the Turkmen National Institute of World Languages named after Dovletmammet Azadi.
We firmly believe that this wonderful work will allow Korean people to learn more about Turkmenistan and contribute to the development of international diplomacy among the countries around the world.
Moreover, the representatives of cultural, arts and artistic sphere of Turkmenistan regularly participate in cultural events that take place in the Republic of Korea.
On the other hand, the representatives of the Korean side are also actively involved in scientific conferences, festivals and other celebrations in our country. Organized by the Korea Foundation's Central Asia-Korea Cooperation Forum Secretariat, the Central Asian Spring Festival "Nowruz in Seoul" is regularly held as part of the Central Asian Spring Festival, where Turkmen representatives consistently take part in the arts exhibitions, traditional performances, national costumes shows and film viewings.
Furthermore, the Minister of Agriculture and Environment Protection of Turkmenistan participated in the XV World Forestry Congress on ministerial level through video conferencing, which was organized by the Korean government on 2 May 2022 in Seoul.
Under the initiative of the Government of Turkmenistan, through promotion of ecology diplomacy, our country widely implements the principles of "green" economy in all spheres, and the protection of the environment is one of the most important directions of state policy.
Aimed at the consolidation of common efforts and mutually useful exchange of experience, the water diplomacy of Turkmenistan adds new priorities to the work of the UN and contributes to the flourishing and progress at the national, regional and global levels. This shows that Turkmenistan and Korea share similar views on ecology diplomacy.
In conclusion, the two countries are successfully developing the bilateral relations in the field of politics-diplomacy, trade-economy, energy and investment. Cooperation in cultural and humanitarian fields are also enriched with new meanings. It is worth mentioning that Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea have great potential for further dynamic development of its relations.
It is a clear fact that the achievements reached in the 30 years of diplomatic relations and important tasks ahead will open new horizons for the future development of Turkmen-Korean cooperation.