On the afternoon of August 4, Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Yeo Seung-bae held the virtual 11th Korea-Kazakhstan Policy Consultation meeting with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Nuryshev Shakhrat. They had an extensive exchange of opinions on issues of mutual interest including bilateral relations, substantive cooperation, multilateral and international cooperation, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Noting that Korea and Kazakhstan have developed the friendship since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992, the two sides shared the understanding that the two countries have continued high-level exchanges through virtual meetings as well as face-to-face exchanges amid the COVID-19 pandemic and achieved desired results in substantive cooperation.
Deputy Minister Yeo noted with appreciation that bilateral relations have strengthened through active exchanges of high-level officials including the visits by the foreign minister and the vice foreign minister of Kazakhstan to Korea, virtual meetings between parliamentary chairs, and a joint committee meeting between the ministers of industry. He also voiced hope to continue stepping up bilateral cooperation through various high-level exchanges.
Korea and Kazakhstan established diplomatic relations on January 28, 1992 and a strategic partnership in 2009.
Both sides noted with satisfaction that trade between the two countries reached an all-time high ($4.2 billion) in 2019 and maintained a strong upward trend in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two leaders appreciated the benefits of the new economic cooperation program “Fresh Wind” that was agreed upon by the two presidents on the occasion of President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Kazakhstan in 2019.
Deputy Minister Yeo mentioned that bilateral cooperation projects such as the Almaty Automobile Assembly Plant and the Almaty Ring Road Construction Project have been carried out successfully through this program and expected that more cooperation projects could be explored.
Vice Minister Nuryshev expressed hope to create new growth engines by expanding the scope of cooperation to various fields such as health, medical care, privatization, and educational environment, among others.
New economic cooperation program “Fresh Wind,” signed in April 2019, is a mid-to-long-term (2019-2022) cooperation program to revitalize bilateral trade and investment. Under this program, detailed cooperation projects are established and promoted in various fields, such as trade and the economy; SMEs; industry, resources, and energy; innovation, technology, and ICT; transportation infrastructure and logistics; and health care.
Deputy Minister Yeo and Vice Minister Nuryshev agreed to work closely on cultural cooperation projects to deepen the friendship and understanding between the people of the two countries in celebration of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2022, which also marks the Korea-Kazakh Mutual Cultural Exchange Year as agreed upon during President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Kazakhstan.
The two sides appreciated that the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, launched in 2007, has grown into an exemplary multilateral channel that promotes substantive cooperation between Korea and Central Asia. They particularly noted the agreement to upgrade the forum to the ministerial level as the decision has a special meaning to the development of Korea-Central Asia relations.
Deputy Minister Yeo expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s active participation in the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum for the past 13 rounds and hoped to further strengthen Korea-Central Asia cooperation through this forum.
The 13th Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum was held in a hybrid format and the participants discussed public health, distance education, the environment, and standardization, with the foreign ministers of Korea and Central Asian countries attending the forum.
Deputy Minister Yeo explained the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the government’s policy toward North Korea. He appreciated Kazakhstan’s consistent support for the Korean government for complete denuclearization and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and asked for continued cooperation and attention.
Vice Minister Nuryshev reaffirmed the will to support peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and mentioned that the Kazakhstan government is willing to contribute to the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula by sharing Kazakhstan’s voluntary denuclearization experience.
This meeting was an opportunity to examine the current status of substantive cooperation with Kazakhstan, a key partner in Central Asia for Korea’s New Northern Policy, and to exchange broad opinions on the direction for future-oriented development of the bilateral relationship.