ROK-Ecuador Foreign Ministers Seek Ways to Strengthen Bilateral Relations and Cooperation for Co-Prosperity

On June 18, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se met with his Ecuadorian counterpart Ricardo Patiño, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Korea. In their meeting, the two Ministers discussed ways to strengthen the ROK-Ecuador cooperation for co-prosperity in a wide range of fields, including government affairs, trade, investment, resource, energy, infrastructure, science and technology. They also exchanged extensive views on the current situations on the Korean Peninsula and in Latin America.

Minister Yun noted with appreciation that the two countries have maintained their friendship and cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962. Furthermore, he conveyed satisfaction with the fact that the two have seen a great increase in substantive cooperation in such sectors as energy, power plant, e-government, science and technology since the visit of Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to the ROK in September 2010.

Meanwhile, Minister Patiño hailed the various cultural events held in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations as well as the recent increase in high-level exchanges between the two countries. He relayed the willingness of the Correa government to expand bilateral strategic cooperation under the new governments of the two countries by building upon the progress in the bilateral relations.

In particular, Minister Patiño, on behalf of President Correa, once again extended an invitation to President Park Geun-hye to visit Ecuador, while conveying the willingness of President Correa to make his second visit to the ROK. He commented that such exchanges between the leaders of the two countries would help take the bilateral relations to a higher level.

The two Foreign Ministers shared the view that the two countries have maintained mutually complementary economic ties where their technology and resources are brought together. Pointing out that Ecuador considers the ROK its development model, Minister Patiño voiced his hope that Korean companies with high technology and know-how would expand their investment in and share their technology with his country.

Bringing attention to growing substantive cooperation between the two countries in energy, power plant, e-government, science and technology, Minister Yun requested Ecuador’s support for Korean companies’ bids to continue taking part in industrialization process that is pursued by the new Ecuadorian government and involves such sectors as petro-chemical industry, steel and electricity.

The two Ministers noted that a joint feasibility study on a possible bilateral trade agreement, which would serve as an institutional foundation for an expansion of trade and investment, had recently been completed. They agreed to make joint efforts, including bilateral consultations, toward prompt conclusion of an agreement on investment protection as well as prompt effectuation of the agreements on avoidance of double taxation and aviation.

The ROK and Ecuador are jointly constructing a solar energy plant on the ecological treasure of the Galapagos Islands with grant aid from the Korea International Cooperation Agency as part of their bilateral cooperation on green growth. Minister Yun requested that the Ecuadorian government take interest and render support in order for the construction to be completed this year as an environment-friendly base for electricity supply in the region.

Minister Patiño extended his appreciation to the ROK government for sharing its development experience by supporting Ecuador’s efforts to put in place  economic development plans, providing education and training to its nationals in the ROK and dispatching relevant experts to the country. Furthermore, crediting the ROK’s growth to science education and technology, the Minister welcomed the expansion of bilateral cooperation in these fields. He also voiced his hope to work more closely with the ROK in building a knowledge-based city in Yachay.

On the heels of their meeting, the two Ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Pacific Basin Issues between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROK and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador and agreed to work closely together under the MOU as partner in the Pacific era.

A welcome dinner ensued, bringing together government officials from the two countries as well as those from Korean companies already operating or wishing to operate in Ecuador. The participants exchanged candid views on diverse ways to expand the presence of enterprises of the two countries in each other’s countries.

The ROK-Ecuador Foreign Ministers’ meeting served as an opportunity to seek ways to work together toward co-prosperity by combining Ecuador’s rich natural resources and the ROK’s technology to complement each other. By doing so, it contributed to setting the direction of the ROK-Ecuador relations under their new governments in a clearer and more specific way.

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