President Park Geun-hye had a summit meeting with her Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev, signing a “basic agreement on grant-type aid” to the Central Asian nation and a “memorandum of understanding for cooperation in energy and industry sectors” on November 19.
The signings took place at the Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae during Atambayev's three-day official visit to the nation. The Kyrgyz president arrived on November 18. The Kyrgyz president is the first leader of a Central Asian nation to visit to South Korea under Park’s administration started in February this year.
Under the basic agreement on grant-type aid, Korea will provide various types of assistance to Kyrgyzstan to help reduce poverty and contribute to social and economic development in the Central Asian nation.
The agreement states that the Korean government will invite Kyrgyz citizens for free training sessions in the country, to send professionals and volunteer workers to Kyrgyzstan, and to provide free equipment and supplies for development programs of the Central Asian nation.
In return, Kyrgyzstan will give various privileges to the dispatched Korean workers and their families, and use the equipment and supplies only for their intended purposes.
The two leaders also signed a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on expanding bilateral cooperation in the energy, natural resources and industrial sectors.
First of all, the mutual cooperation between the two countries is expected to contribute greatly to shaping up Park's Eurasian Initiative, which calls for binding Eurasian nations closely together by linking roads and railways to realize what she called the Silk Road Express, running from South Korea to Europe via North Korea, Russia, and China.
Park expressed that the Korean government is highly regarding the mutually beneficial cooperation with Central Asia in the process of moving ahead the policy of strengthened cooperation among Eurasian countries. Atambayev agreed on the importance of strengthening the relationship among Eurasian countries while stressing the necessity of strengthening the existing mutual cooperation between the two countries in the Central Asian region.
South Korea and Kyrgyzstan established diplomatic relations in 1992. Between 1987 and 2012, Korea gave a total of US$22 million in aid to Kyrgyzstan, including US$8.6 million in grant-type aid. The rest was given as credit assistance.
Last year, trades between the two countries surpassed US$160 million, with Korea exporting about US$160 million worth of heavy electric equipment, computer parts and heaters, etc., while importing US$210,000 worth of plastic goods and nonmetallic minerals.