Seoul aims to get closer to northern neighbors, including Central Asia

Seoul aims to get closer to northern neighbors, including Central Asia

The South Korea will focus its agenda this year on active promoting the goals and objectives of the new Northern policy. The statement came Monday from the country’s Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, according to Korean mass media.

The new Northern Korean policy implies a comprehensive expansion of economic and political cooperation with Russia, Mongolia, Central Asia and Europe.

The minister stressed the South Korean government plans to establish new concepts and models for mid- and long-term cooperation with Central Asian countries and aim to conclude bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements with countries located north of the Korean Peninsula.

According to the new North policy, Seoul will make every effort to expand cooperation with the Central Asian nations in the infrastructure, culture, industry and public health sectors as well.

Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and South Korea have been cooperating in a multilateral format since 2007 under the framework of the Central Asia – Korea Cooperation Forum, whose main task is to find and implement new forms of partnership, despite the relative geographical distance. The accumulative sum of Korean investment to Central Asia recorded an amount of US $5.7 billion.

In April 2019, during his regional tour, South Korean President Moon Jae-in paid state visit to Turkmenistan. At that time, the parties identified such sectors as petrochemistry, energy, industry, transport, telecommunications, healthcare, and education as key areas of future bilateral cooperation.