First and foremost, I am truly grateful to President Tokayev and the people of Kazakhstan for inviting me as a state guest and warmly welcoming me and my delegation.
This year is significant as it marks the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership established between Kazakhstan and Korea. I am very pleased to be able to have candid, heart-to-heart discussions with Your Excellency about the future of cooperation between our two countries in this important year.
Since its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has made the most remarkable economic development among countries in Central Asia. It is a harvest reaped through the vision of the first President Nazarbayev and President Tokayev as great leaders and the Kazakh people’s hard work.
Kazakhstan has laid out its “Strategy Kazakhstan-2050” plan for national development and is now spurring its endeavors to emerge as one of the world’s 30 established states. For its part, Korea is implementing the New Northern Policy, as one of its priorities, with a view to achieving peace and common prosperity in Eurasia.
Today, we had extensive discussions on how to deepen bilateral relations by harmoniously linking our two nations’ policies.
First, we agreed to expand forward-looking cooperation.
To jointly respond to the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, our two countries will actively seek substantive collaboration in cutting-edge industries, including ICT, 5G, big data and the Internet of Things.
The Korea-Kazakhstan international IT cooperation center scheduled to be set up in Nur-Sultan will play a pivotal role in future cooperation between our two countries. I look forward to the center contributing to increasing exchanges in the fields of state-of-the-art technology and innovative industries as well as nurturing Kazakh professionals.
We agreed to actively identify cooperative infrastructure construction projects and break ground for the new Almaty Ring Road on the occasion of this state visit. The Almaty Ring Road is significant in that it is the first public-private partnership project in Central Asia that involves Korean businesses. In addition, an agreement was reached to establish a Korean car manufacturing plant, and businesspeople and government officials from both countries met yesterday to hold related events. I look forward to the success of this project as a leading example of our two countries' cooperation.
In healthcare and medical services, we reached agreement to push ahead with diverse cooperative projects involving e-health as well as the exchange of technology and professionals. Cooperation in healthcare and medical services that are directly linked to the quality of life will help improve the health and wellbeing of our two peoples.
We two leaders adopted a "Fresh Wind" program that covers all of these new cooperative projects. I am very pleased that our two countries will be able to promote substantive cooperation in a more systematic way. I look forward to bilateral cooperation being expanded into such new areas as space and the defense industry.
Second, we agreed to further promote people-to-people exchanges between our two countries.
We decided to designate the year 2022, which marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties, as the year of mutual cultural exchanges and agreed to carry out various cultural exchange events.
Not long ago, an exhibition titled “Kazakhstan - The Cradleland of the ‘Golden Man’” was held at the National Museum of Korea, attracting much interest and positive reviews.
It is all the more pleasing to hear that there will be diverse cultural performances in Kazakhstan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of our two countries' strategic partnership this year. I hope that our two peoples will be able to feel more closely connected while enjoying Korean films as well as traditional music and Hanbok together.
Our two countries also concurred on strengthening cooperation in the judicial field. The Treaty for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons signed during this visit will help bring safety as well as conveniences and benefits to a new level for the people of our two countries.
Third, we two leaders agreed to continue to closely work together for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and in Central Asia.
Today, President Tokayev welcomed the Korean Government’s efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula and said he would continue to provide active support. It was a great boost, indeed. Thank you.
Kazakhstan’s denuclearization experience has inspired the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula. We agreed to continue relevant dialogues and cooperation.
Moreover, we highly praised the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum, which has developed into a framework of multilateral collaboration among Korea and five Central Asian nations. The 12th Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum will be upgraded into a ministerial-level meeting and held here in Nur-Sultan this coming October. Welcoming this news, we agreed to work closely together for its success. We also decided to make joint efforts to enhance the role of the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum Secretariat, which opened in Seoul in 2017 as a regular communication channel between Korea and Central Asia.
I will not forget the heart-to-heart talks I had with President Tokayev today. The friendship and trust between our two peoples and between the leaders make a strong foundation for bilateral relations. I hope that we will communicate and work more closely with each other in a bid to develop our strategic partnership in a more substantive and forward-looking manner.
I express my gratitude once more for your warm hospitality.
Rahmat! (Thank you)