Korea launches K-Silk Road - an initiative for cooperation with Central Asian countries

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Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stated that the first state visit of South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to Kazakhstan on June 12 was historic. The Korean leader, in response, emphasized that he was visiting Kazakhstan with great satisfaction on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries, the press service of the President of Kazakhstan reports.

"South Korea is a reliable strategic partner for us. (...) The issues on our common agenda are addressed in a business-like and constructive manner. Currently, the volume of bilateral trade has reached $6 billion. (...) Currently, more than 700 joint ventures with Korean capital are operating in Kazakhstan. Cultural and humanitarian ties are actively developing. The Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan, serving as a 'golden bridge of friendship,' makes a significant contribution to strengthening contacts between the peoples," noted Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his welcoming speech.

"Today, the relations between our states are maintained at the highest level. Many Korean companies are investing in Kazakhstan, thus contributing to job creation and industrial development. Moreover, they contribute to the modernization of Kazakhstan's national infrastructure, participating in projects such as the construction of BAKAD and a combined cycle power plant. We intend to expand cooperation in such promising areas as the extraction of critical raw materials, nuclear energy, and renewable energy sources. Overall, now is a good moment for the two states to expand the horizons of cooperation. On the eve of the visit, the Korean government announced the K-Silk Road initiative, a cooperation initiative between Korea and the Central Asian countries. This is Korea's first diplomatic strategy towards Central Asia," noted Yoon Suk-yeol.

The President of Kazakhstan emphasized that today South Korea is among the top five largest investors in Kazakhstan.

"During the period up to last year, the volume of investments from this country reached $9.6 billion. Both sides expressed interest in increasing this figure. More than 700 companies with Korean capital are operating in Kazakhstan. Among them are such major corporations as Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, Lotte, Doosan, and Posco, which are successfully operating in our country. (...) Currently, Doosan Enerbility is constructing a power plant based on a combined cycle in Turkestan. Samsung Electronics plans to start producing household appliances in our country. We fully support this initiative. The company GL Ralpha intends to build a biopharmaceutical plant in Astana," said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

During the negotiations, the issue of joint exploration and extraction of rare earth metals was also discussed.

"We express readiness to continue cooperation with South Korean partners: KIGAM, SK ecoplant, which are interested in developing lithium deposits with the production of high value-added products," noted the President of Kazakhstan.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev confirmed the readiness to create favorable conditions for Korean companies wishing to enter the Kazakhstan market. According to him, specific mechanisms have been established for the implementation of such plans. A working group has been formed to develop interaction between the intergovernmental commission, the business council, and the business community. These structures will contribute to the strengthening of bilateral economic ties, emphasized the President of Kazakhstan.

The visit of South Korean President to Kazakhstan took place on June 12-13, 2024. Within the framework of the visit, a Kazakhstan-Korea Business Forum was held, attended by both presidents. President Tokayev called on South Korean companies to participate in the construction of Alatau City near Almaty. He also emphasized the importance of a full-fledged transfer of South Korean technologies to the oil and gas industry of Kazakhstan.

An agreement was reached that South Korea will provide Kazakhstan with technologies based on the "smart agricultural farms" principle, and both countries will strengthen the supply chain of key minerals.

Following the official talks in Astana, 11 Kazakhstan-Korea agreements were signed.


June 12, 2024