The following article by the above writer has been contributed by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul to The Korea Post media for publication, which publishes 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.—Ed.
The foundation for the development of bilateral relations between our states was laid on December 30, 1991, when the Republic of Korea was among the first to recognize the independence of Uzbekistan. Diplomatic relations were established on January 29, 1992. Since then, there has been an active political dialogue between the two states, as evidenced by the seventeen high-level meetings held over this 30-year period.
Regular dialogue between the leaders of the two countries, which has become one of the hallmarks of Uzbek-South Korean relations, plays a key role in the consistent promotion and deepening of bilateral cooperation.
Bilateral relations were further strengthened by the state visit of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Korea in 2017 and the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Moon Jae-in to Uzbekistan in 2019.
It should be emphasized that on December 16-18, 2021, at the invitation of President Moon Jae-in, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev made a state visit to this country for the second time.
In the residence of the President of the Republic of Korea "Chong Wa Dae" in the city of Seoul, a solemn ceremony of the official meeting of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan was held. Then the heads of state held talks with the participation of official delegations of the two countries.
The Republic of Korea is one of the key trade and economic partners of Uzbekistan. Trade turnover and the number of joint ventures have almost doubled in recent years. Despite the consequences of the pandemic, multifaceted relations continue to develop dynamically.
Uzbekistan and Korea have made significant progress in concluding a Free Trade Agreement. At the meeting, confidence was expressed that with its signing next year, it will be possible to increase and balance the indicators of trade.
The volume of Korean investments in the economy of Uzbekistan exceeds $7 billion. The capital works for the implementation of joint projects in the chemical, petrochemical, textile industries, the construction industry, and agriculture.
The leader of Uzbekistan proposed to declare 2022 the Year of Mutual Exchanges between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea, to implement a project to organize the Museum of the History of Koreans, as well as a library at the House of Korean Culture and Art in Tashkent.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and President Moon Jae-in signed a Joint Statement on deepening the special strategic partnership between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea. In this document, a special place is occupied by the goals of the comprehensive development of mutually beneficial cooperation, the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the strengthening of friendly relations between the peoples of the two countries.
In the presence of the leaders of the two countries, an Intergovernmental Agreement in the field of health care, a Cooperation Program with the Korea International Cooperation Agency for 2022-2024, a Program for Cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs for 2022-2024, as well as memorandums on establishing a dialogue in the energy sector, on cooperation in development of "smart" cities, on financing from the Economic Development Assistance Fund, in the field of rare metals, copper and their alloys.
Also during the visit, memorandums of cooperation in the field of information technology and in the field of "smart" agriculture, an agreement on the supply of medical equipment with the participation of the Korean Economic Development Fund were signed.
As part of the visit, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev held a meeting in Seoul with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Park Byung-suk. The parties exchanged views on further expansion and intensification of bilateral cooperation. Park Byung-suk stated that he would prioritize the development of a special strategic partnership with Uzbekistan.
I would like to emphasize that despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, cooperation in the field of culture between Uzbekistan and South Korea is developing very actively, since it is an important component of interaction between our countries, which is given great importance at the state level in both countries, because the history of friendly relations between our peoples dates back to the era of the Great Silk Road, as evidenced by the frescoes in the Afrasiab Museum, which depict the ambassadors of the Koguryeostate at a reception at the ruler of Samarkand at the end of the 7th century.
Another important historical fact: the table of stars described in the work of Mirzo Ulugbek "Ziji jadidi Kuragoniy" served as the basis for the creation of the ancient Korean calendar in the state of Joseon.
In past years, before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, representatives of our countries regularly took part in various cultural events held in Uzbekistan and South Korea.
In particular, in 2019, cultural figures of the Republic of Korea participated in the Sharq Taronalari International Music Festival in Samarkand, the Hunarmand International Festival of Applied Arts in Kokand and other events, and the Days of culture of Uzbekistan with the organization of a national pavilion and a demonstration of samples of domestic applied and fine arts, a photo exhibition, as well as a concert with the participation of artists of Uzbekistan.
I would like to emphasize that a great historical event in the spiritual life of the peoples of the two states was the opening of a monument to the great ancestor of the Uzbek people, statesman and thinker Alisher Navoi in the Socho district in Seoul. The event is dedicated to the 580th anniversary of the birth of Alisher Navoi, as well as the state visit of the head of our state to the Land of Morning Calm.
At the same time, work is underway to widely familiarize the Korean public with the tourist attractions of Uzbekistan. Over the past year, more than 20 videos about the tourism potential of Uzbekistan were broadcast on leading South Korean TV channels, such as KBS, IBS and others.
Over the past period, fruitful cooperation between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea has reached the level of a special strategic partnership. In this regard, it can be noted with confidence that our bilateral relations will continue to develop in the future. The two countries have every opportunity for this, and most importantly, mutual desire and aspiration.