By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Vice Chairman Song Na-ra, Editor Kevin Lee
Deputy Head of Mission Zokir Saidov of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul said, “As a result of a mutual beneficial cooperation in recent years, Uzbek-Korean relations have been upgraded to the level of Special Strategic Partnership." Then he said, "Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, 18 meetings have been held at the level of heads of state.”
Speaking on behalf of Ambassador Vitaliy Fen whose spouse recently deceased and was unable to attend the meeting at Lotte Hotel on Oct. 21, 2022, DHM Saidov said, “As a result of these meetings we have achieved mutual agreements in developing our relationships in political, economic, trade, cultural and humanitarian fields."
Then he said, “Last December, the state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Republic of Korea was a historic event in mutual relations.” (See excerpts from his speech at the end of this report.)
The gala reception was attended by many distinguished guests from the Korean government and various other segments of Korean society and also by the ambassadors and other senior officials from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
Among the distinguished Korean guests were Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Choi Young-sam at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Assemblyman Kim Du-kwan, and various leading fitures from all walks of life, including the mass communications media whence came many media repreentatives who included Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Kore Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean news publicaions since 1985.
There also were many ambassadors and other senior diplomats attending the reception, who inclued Ambassador Carkis Vitor Boungou of the Gabonese Republic in Seoul (dean of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps) and Ambassador Adrey Kulik of Russia who also was one of the senior heads of diplomatic missions in Seoul.
DHM Saidov’s speech was followed by an impressive congratulatory speech by Deputy Miniser Choi Young-sam of the Foreign Affairs.
In the message, Choi said, “Korea and Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations in 1992 right after Uzbekistan's independence, and we have established a close friendship and cooperation in various fields, including frequent exchanges between the leaders of our two countries.”
Then he said, “The strong trust and friendship that we’ve built have become a strong foundation for strengthening our mutually beneficial cooperative relations as special strategic partners.”
“As of today,” continued Choi, “More than 400 Korean companies have entered Uzbekistan and they are actively doing business mostly in the energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors. And Korea has become one of Uzbekistan's largest trading partners.”
Choi then stated, “Cooperation between the two countries goes beyond cooperation in the economic field. It is expanding into more diversified and future-oriented areas such as health, digitization, the environment, and education.” (See details of his speech after that of DHM Zokir Saidov of Uzbekistan.)
The third and last speaker was National Assemblyman Kim Du-kwan.
Rep. Kim said, “Although many countries have halted exchanges due to the sudden pandemic and border closures, Korea and Uzbekistan stayed open for exchanges in the fields of economy, trade and technology, and maintained a dynamically developing relationship.”
Then he said, “By the end of the pandemic last year our two countries conducted high-level diplomatic meetings, to upgrade even closer partnership ties.”
Rep. Kim said: “Last August, I also visited Uzbekistan, to establish closer integration between our countries. Together with Viktor Park, the Vice-Chairman of the House of Representatives, who is also the president of the Korean Diaspora in Uzbekistan, I got to know the life and history of the diaspora. I was impressed when I met Korean businessmen that were actively cooperating in each field.” (See the speech text of Rep. Kim at the end of this report.)
Speech text of Deputy Head of Mission Zokir Saidov of Uzbekistan:
"Dear Mr. Choi Young-sam (Deputy Minister for Political Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs),
Dear Mr. Kim Du-kwan (Member of the National Assembly),
Ladies and gentlemen!"
"First of all, let me express my sincere gratitude to all the guests for participating in today’s solemn event on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of our country’s independence and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea."
"After the announcement of its Independence, the Republic of Uzbekistan has been establishing close diplomatic relations with the leading nations of the world, including the Republic of Korea.
As a result of a mutual beneficial cooperation in recent years, Uzbek-Korean relations have been upgraded to the level of Special Strategic Partnership."
"Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, 18 meetings have been held at the level of heads of state.
As a result of these meetings we have achieved mutual agreements in developing our relationships in political, economic, trade, cultural and humanitarian fields."
"Last December, the state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Republic of Korea was a historic event in mutual relations.
High-level meetings and negotiations were held in Seoul, and meetings were organized with the leadership of the South Korean parliament and representatives of leading companies."
This historic visit helped to establish a solid foundation for the development of multilateral relations. Within the framework of the visit, the leaders of the two countries issued a joint statement on deepening special strategic partnership relations between the Republic of Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea.
The President of Uzbekistan noted that the three main areas of cooperation on the agenda for the near term include "green" development, digitization and strengthening of the social protection system. It was proposed to develop all future joint projects, programs and action plans based on these main priorities.
"Additionally, the leader of Uzbekistan proposed to declare 2022 as ""the year of mutual exchanges between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea"".
The Republic of Korea is one of the main trade and economic partners of Uzbekistan. In recent years, the number of exchanges and joint ventures has almost doubled. Despite the consequences of the pandemic, multilateral relations continue to develop steadily."
"Hundreds of priority investment projects in various sectors of our country's economy have been implemented by the leading South Korean companies.
Currently, about 900 enterprises with the participation of Korean investors operate in Uzbekistan.
And overall, the volume of investments attracted from the Republic of Korea have exceeded $ 7 billion."
"In 2021, the amount of investments made by South Korea in our country amounted to $320 million, that is, 20% more than in 2020. These funds were directed to the development of joint projects in chemical, petrochemical, textile, construction, and agriculture sectors.
In particular, it is important to note the long-term fruitful cooperation with Korea Exim bank and the Economic Development and Cooperation Fund (EDCF). The volume of financing within this fund has reached $ 1 billion. Significant funds are being allocated to the implementation of new projects in Uzbekistan by 2023."
"A fruitful partnership with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is also expanding.
At the present, vast opportunities for businesses are opening up in Uzbekistan, which has long been a center of trade, science, and culture. "
"The willingness of South Korean companies to support investment projects in Uzbekistan implies their readiness to share best practices, and their practical work in this regard equally serves the interests of both countries.
The South Korean side is supporting our reforms in the areas of rule of law, regional security, religious tolerance, media freedom, and gender equality."
In particular, in July of this year, a roundtable discussion on "Constitutional reforms in Uzbekistan" was held in Seoul. Representatives of South Korean political experts, expressed their support for the ongoing constitutional reforms in Uzbekistan.
"Our countries are strongly cooperating in the fields of health care, pre-school and higher education. As a result of the first major joint project implemented in medicine, the Children's multidisciplinary clinic started operating in Tashkent city in 2020.
The Korean education model is one of the most exemplary ones in the world. It is for this reason that the pre-school education system of our country has been completely reformed based on the advanced experience and knowledge of our partners from Korea."
"To develop innovative cooperation between universities and in order to create a permanent platform for their regular communications, it is planned to hold a forum for the leadership of higher education institutions of the two countries in Tashkent later this year.
Our cultural relations are also becoming more active year by year. It would not be a misstatement to say that the opening of the statue of the great poet and thinker Alisher Navoi in South Korea in December last year was a huge historical event in the spiritual life of both nations."
The culture and customs of Uzbek and Korean people are very similar. Also, the closeness of the mentality of the people and the large Korean diaspora in Uzbekistan play an important role in the development of the friendly relations between our countries.
"Our countries supported each other during difficult times. More than 180,000 ethnic Koreans residing in Uzbekistan today have become an integral part of our multinational society.
This year, we are celebrating not only the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, but also the 85th anniversary of the Korean diaspora's arrival in Uzbekistan."
Based on the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, a Museum of Korean History as well as a library under the House of Korean Culture and Art in Tashkent are currently being established. Close inter-parliamentary cooperation also has a great role in raising the relations between our countries to a higher level.
"Friendship group" are actively working between the parliaments of the two countries. Their recent meeting was held in Tashkent in August of this year.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Korean Parliament as well, for introducing and collaborating in the implementation of the electronic parliamentary mechanisms in Uzbekistan."
Within the framework of establishing close inter-regional relations, mutual cooperation between Tashkent & Seoul, Fergana & Incheon, Samarkand & Gyeongju, Bukhara & Daegu and a number of other cities is developing day by day.
Today is another important date for Uzbekistan - it is the day when the Uzbek language was granted the status of the state language, and October 21 is widely celebrated in our country as the ""Day of the Uzbek Language".
"Nowadays, the Uzbek language is studied in about 60 universities and in more than 100 schools in many countries around the globe. We are pleased that one of the countries where the Uzbek language is taught is South Korea, which is our special strategic partner.
In particular, the number of students studying the Uzbek language at Hankuk University of Foreign Languages, which is considered one of the leading higher education institutions in the country, exceeds 60."
I would like to conclude by expressing once again my deepest gratitude for sharing our special occasion today.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all good health, peace and prosperity.
Thank you for your attention."
Speech text of Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Young-sam:
Dear Charge d’Affaires Mr. Saidov,
It’s very meaningful for me to congratulate on behalf of the Korean government on the 31st anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence and the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Uzbekistan is growing dynamically based on its long history and vast culture.
Since its independence in 1991, the country has achieved remarkable development in every field including politics, the economy, and society.
I hope that Uzbekistan will move to the next level of development under the outstanding leadership of President Mirziyoyev in the future too.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year we mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Korea and Uzbekistan established diplomatic relations in 1992 right after Uzbekistan's independence, and we have established a close friendship and cooperation in various fields, including frequent exchanges between the leaders of our two countries.
And the strong trust and friendship that we’ve built have become a strong foundation for strengthening our mutually beneficial cooperative relations as special strategic partners.
As of today, more than 400 Korean companies have entered Uzbekistan and they are actively doing business mostly in the energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing sectors. And Korea has become one of Uzbekistan's largest trading partners.
Cooperation between the two countries goes beyond cooperation in the economic field. It is expanding into more diversified and future-oriented areas such as health, digitization, the environment, and education.
We cannot talk about the advancement of our bilateral relations without mentioning the important role of ethnic Koreans.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the settlement of ethnic Koreans in Central Asia. Ethnic Koreans have since been a strong bridge connecting Korea and Uzbekistan.
I would like to take this opportunity to heartily thank the Uzbek government and the people for the warm welcome for the Koreans who moved to Uzbekistan in a difficult time 85 years ago.
The Korean government aims to become a global hub country under a new diplomatic vision.
Based on the strong friendship and cooperation that our two countries have built, we intend to take the Korea-Uzbekistan Special Strategic Partnership to new heights.
Based on the trust and cooperation between us, Korea wants to be a trusted partner, as it has been, in Uzbekistan's path of development.
I ask for your continued keen interest and support for the joint journey between Korea and Uzbekistan toward a better future.
Once again, I would like to convey my congratulations on Uzbekistan's 31st anniversary of independence.
Speech text of National Assemblyman Kim Du-kwan:
Dear Distinguished guests, it is a great honor to meet you here, I am Kim Du-kwan representing Yangsang city at the National Assembly of Korea. I would to express my sincere congratulation on 31th Anniversary of Independence of Uzbekistan and 30th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between our nations. I am truly honored to be present at this meaningful ceremony.
Although many countries have halted exchanges due to the sudden pandemic and border closures, Korea and Uzbekistan stayed open for exchanges in the fields of economy, trade and technology, and maintained a dynamically developing relationship. By the end of the pandemic last year our countries conducted high level diplomatic meetings, to upgrade even closer partnership ties.
Last August I also visited Uzbekistan, to establish closer integration between our countries. Together with Viktor Park, the Vice-Chairman of the House of Representatives, who is also the president of the Korean Diaspora in Uzbekistan, I got to know the life and history of the diaspora. I was impressed when I met Korean businessmen that were actively cooperating in each field.
This year also marks the 31st anniversary of Uzbekistan's independence from the Soviet Union. Independence is a joyous and daunting word for both Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea. It is said in Uzbekistan, "The joy of independence is remembered during the Sahar period", when all citizens pick up a broom and clean the neighborhood. Through today's event, I hope that everyone attending it will share the joy.
I would like to mention the efforts of the officials of the Embassy of Uzbekistan who have always been at the forefront of promoting mutual cooperation and friendship between the two countries and have prepared such a grand literary exchange festival. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the guests who came to support this event today, and I hope that peace and love will dwell in your homes.