Korea announces ‘K-Silk Road’ regional strategy for Central Asia

President Yoon Suk Yeol and his wife Kim Keon Hee disembark from the presidential jet after landing at Warsaw Chopin Airport in Poland, July 12, 2023. Korea Times photo by Seo Jae-hoon

Korea will create a summit with five Central Asian countries and hold its first meeting in Seoul next year, as part of its new diplomatic strategy for the region, dubbed “Korea-Central Asia K Silk Road.”

Toward that end, President Yoon Suk Yeol will make state visits next week to three Central Asian nations — Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan — to embolden Korea’s partnerships with the countries having abundant natural resources and economic growth potential.

During a press briefing, Friday, Seoul’s First Deputy Director of National Security Kim Tae-hyo said that Korea and five Central Asian countries, including Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, will create the Korea-Central Asia Summit and hold its inaugural meeting here next year.

Kim said the summit will be the latest edition of the Yoon government’s efforts to expand its diplomatic frontline, following the Korea-Pacific Islands Summit last year and the Korea-Africa Summit earlier this month.

The summit is pursued as part of the “K-Silk Road initiative,” which is aimed at creating a new platform for partnerships with Korea and Central Asian nations.

“The K-Silk Road initiative contains the blueprint for upgrading Korea’s partnerships with the Central Asian region a step higher,” Kim said. “Through the initiative, we seek to facilitate free, peaceful and prosperous Korea and Central Asia together.”

The initiative has four main partnership pillars: resources, official development assistance, cultural and people-to-people exchange and government and private-level networking.

Based on these pillars, Korea will focus on tailored cooperation with each of the five nations in respective areas.

For example, Korea will focus on energy and infrastructure cooperation with Kazakhstan, water resources and tourism partnerships with Kyrgyzstan and energy plant partnerships with Turkmenistan.

The initiative is in line with the increasing strategic importance of the region, which has rich reserves of natural gas and key minerals including uranium, lithium and tungsten. Due to this, the United States, European Union and Germany have each held five-plus-one summits since 2022, while Russia and China are also deepening their ties with the region.

“The region has a young and dynamic demographic structure and is full of growth potential,” a senior official at the presidential office said.

“Global powerhouses such as the U.S. and China are striving to enhance their ties with the region. However, there are concerns that these countries, in their position of receiving investment and support, sometimes feel pressured or, to put it 카지노사이트킹 bluntly, are subject to a new form of imperialism. Due to this, Korea’s approach is being welcomed by these countries. Their desire to partner with Korea spans from infrastructure, industrial development, climate and digital efforts, making this partnership meaningful.”

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