President Park Geun-hye pledged Thursday to work toward closer economic and other relations with Latin American countries and enhance efforts to share economic development experience and know-how with African nations.
Park made the remarks in separate group meetings with ambassadors from the two continents.
“Though South Korea is far away from South and Central America and the Caribbean region, (the sides) have close economic relations. The first foreign nation our country signed an FTA with is Chile and we also signed FTAs with Peru and Colombia as well,”
|President Park Geun-hye speaks during a meeting with ambassadors from Latin America. She also met envoys from Africa separately. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)|
Park said in the meeting with Latin American envoys, referring to the free trade agreements.
For example, Park said trade volume between South Korea and Chile jumped four-fold since their free trade pact went into effect, and South Korean companies have also been making brisk investments in the country since then.
“I hope we will cooperate more closely in many areas in the future,” she said. “Though (South Korea and Latin America are) far off geographically, I will make efforts to keep (the sides) psychologically close and maintain close partnership (with the region).”
Park also said she is pleased that South Korean culture has been gaining popularity in Latin America, and a growing number of young South Koreans enjoy Latin American culture. She stressed the two sides should try to enhance mutual understanding through cultural exchanges.
Participants in the meeting included ambassadors from Paraguay, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru.
Park later met with ambassadors from African nations, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola, Ivory Coast and Senegal, saying she trusts in the future of Africa and considers the continent an “important partner” that South Korea should move forward with.
“The future of African nations (lie in) laying the framework for growth and I think that South Korea’s experience can be of help even a little (for such efforts), Park said. “I hope we can contribute to establishing industrial foundations and training local human resources.” (Yonhap News)