South Korea and the Cook Islands will adopt a joint statement this week to establish formal diplomatic relations, making the South Pacific Ocean country the 190th with which Seoul has diplomatic ties, the foreign ministry said Monday.
The signing ceremony will be held on Friday in Rarotonga, the most populous island of the insular country. Seoul will be represented by Ambassador to New Zealand Park Yong-kyu and Cook Islands by Foreign Minister Tom Marsters, the ministry said.
Last October, the South Korean Cabinet endorsed the proposal earlier on the bilateral relations, and all domestic procedures were completed after President Lee Myung-bak signed it.
“The establishment of the relationship with the Cook Islands is expected to be mutually beneficial,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Han Hye-jin. “It will particularly help South Korea in exploring natural resources and attracting international gatherings.”
The Cook Islands, which is in free association with New Zealand, is composed of 15 small islands and has a population of some 10,000 people, according to government data. (Yonhap News)