ROK Discusses with Ethiopia, the ROK’s close ally in Africa, a Future Vision for Mutually-Beneficial Cooperation

On June 20, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se met with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Adhanom Tedros, who first visited the Republic of Korea on June 19 in his capacity as Foreign Minister for events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the ROK-Ethiopia diplomatic relations. 

Minister Yun stressed the special bond between the two countries, stating that Ethiopian soldiers’ noble sacrifice during the Korean War sixty years ago helped the ROK achieve democratization and economic development. Minister Yun added that while Ethiopia is putting much effort into national development under the new leadership, the ROK will continue to expand support for the country’s development. 

The two Ministers pointed out that bilateral cooperation in government affairs has strengthened following the reciprocal visits of the two countries’ leaders in 2011, but economic cooperation is very much insufficient. They shared the view that the two countries need to be partners for shared growth by linking Ethiopia’s human resources and the ROK’s experiences and technology. 

Minister Tedros said that Ethiopia considers the ROK a development model for the country and intends to learn from the ROK’s experiences, including the Saemaul Undong (New Village Movement), and its creativity, dynamics and passion. The Minister asked the ROK government to provide support so that more ROK companies can do business in Ethiopia and contribute to the country’s economic growth through job creation and technology transfer. In response, Minister Yun said that the ROK government will actively encourage its SMEs and large companies to invest in Ethiopia and support the dispatch of the ROK’s economic delegation to Ethiopia. 

Minister Yun welcomed Ethiopian Airlines’ launch of flights to and from Incheon, the first of African airlines. The Minister hoped that this will help bilateral exchanges significantly rise and Addis Ababa will emerge as Africa’s hub. He also expected that the ROK businessmen will increase their activities in Ethiopia and other African countries based on the new route operated by Ethiopian Airlines. 

In addition, the two Ministers agreed to strengthen partnership between the ROK, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, and Ethiopia, chair of the African Union for 2013, for peace and security in Africa. They also promised to frequently consult on peace on the Korean Peninsula and global issues, as well as African issues, through channels of telephone diplomacy. 

The latest ROK-Ethiopia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held as part of the Park Geun-hye government’s efforts to expand diplomatic horizon in Africa, which have been in full swing following the visits by the Presidents of Uganda and Mozambique and the Foreign Minister of Gabon. The meeting is expected to further strengthen trust between the governments of the ROK and Ethiopia and to contribute to boosting the ROK companies and people’s activities in Ethiopia and other African countries. 

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