Thank you. I am truly grateful to President Berdimuhamedov and the people of Turkmenistan for warmly welcoming me and my delegation.
This is my first visit to Central Asia after my inauguration. Central Asia is a region holding longstanding connections with Korea from ancient times. Among the countries in the area, Turkmenistan, which harbors resplendent Silk Road culture, became the first destination for my state visits this time, and it is very meaningful for me.
Since its independence in 1991, Turkmenistan has continued to achieve remarkable economic development while contributing to peace and stability in Central Asia. I pay my respect to the tenacity and resilience of the Turkmen people who even withstand desert storms.
Its relations with Korea have also made steady progress. Our two countries have become mutually beneficial partners thanks to the two visits to Korea by President Berdimuhamedov.
More than anything else, our two countries share a vision for peace and prosperity in Eurasia. To realize it, the Korean Government is implementing the New Northern Policy, which was welcomed by President Berdimuhamedov today. For my part, I expressed my high regard for Turkmenistan’s strategy to become a transport hub in the region, which will lead Central Asia’s stability and advancement. We agreed to carry out our respective policies in harmony to strengthen Eurasian connectivity.
Moreover, we had in-depth discussions about concrete cooperative measures for the common prosperity of our two nations.
First, we agreed to step up cooperation in the educational and cultural sectors to promote bonds of friendship between our two peoples.
Reflecting this, an MOU on cooperation in the fields of culture and humanities was signed. We agreed to increase the number of Korean language courses and open a King Sejong Institute in Turkmenistan. A program to invite Turkmen students to Korea for training will also be expanded.
I hope our two peoples will be able to exchange and communicate in diverse areas, including culture, arts, tourism, education and sports, while getting to know and understand each other.
Second, we concurred on further expanding mutually beneficial cooperation that can be sensed by the people of our two countries.
As seen by the Kiyanly plant, the nation's first large-scale gas chemical complex that was completed last year, Turkmenistan and Korea are optimal cooperation partners. I look forward to many more Korean businesses taking part in energy and plant construction projects, which are currently being pursued by the Government of Turkmenistan.
Today, President Berdimuhamedov noted that he would prioritize cooperation with Korean businesses, which was a truly encouraging remark. We will strive to make the most of our two countries’ respective strengths in order to identify the second and third opportunities for cooperation like the one in Kiyanly.
We also agreed to join forces to nurture industrial professionals. Through a capacity-building project by the Gas Vocational Training Center of the Korea International Cooperation Agency and a project to train
plant engineering professionals, our two countries will nurture high-caliber engineers and exchange information, thereby raising our industrial competitiveness.
Third, we came to an agreement to redouble our efforts for cooperation in areas directly linked to the everyday lives of our two countries’ people such as healthcare and medical services as well as digital applications.
Especially noteworthy is the fact that various institutional foundations for cooperation have been laid this time between our two countries’ healthcare authorities and private medical institutions. In particular, they incorporate an e-health master plan that features the digitalization of medical information and the establishment of a telemedicine system, so expectations are high. Cooperation in healthcare and medical services between our countries will help our two peoples lead a healthy and happy life.
As evidenced by the recent launch of 5G commercial service for the first time in the world, Korea has strength in the information and communication sector. I look forward to Korea participating in projects to expand Turkmenistan’s digital infrastructure based on the "ICT MOU" signed on the occasion of my sate visit this time.
President Berdimuhamedov and I came to a common understanding on the importance of environmental issues. Of particular note, we agreed to share our two countries’ experiences and technologies for forestation as well as resolving water shortage problems. I expressed my gratitude and welcome to Turkmenistan upon the recent announcement of its intention to join the Global Green Growth Institute. I hope that our environmental cooperation, including the restoration of the Aral Sea, will contribute to Central Asia’s stability and prosperity.
Finally, we decided to closely work together for the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and the Central Asian region.
President Berdimuhamedov has worked with and supported the Korean Government in its efforts to achieve denuclearization and the settlement of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. The dream of peace and prosperity on the Peninsula stretches across Eurasia. Turkmenistan’s support and encouragement will be a great boost going forward. I extend my gratitude once more.
I expressed my respect for Turkmenistan’s endeavors for peace in the region, including its assistance for Afghanistan’s stabilization. Korea will also work together Central Asia’s shared growth and common progress. I am looking forward to expanding cooperation while closely communicating through the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum Secretariat.
As assessed by President Berdimuhamedov, the summit today served as a very valuable opportunity for us to share each other’s vision and discuss concrete plans for the common prosperity of both countries.
I am confident that our meeting today will prove to be a significant milestone that allows not only the two leaders but also the people of our two countries to become closer friends.