Deputy Minister Pahad Concludes Official Visit to South Korea

Seoul - South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad today, Wednesday 21 September 2005, concluded his official visit to South Korea where he held bilateral political and economic discussions with his South Korean counterpart Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik in Seoul.

This visit comes in the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate bilateral political and economic relations with all countries of the South in order to create the conditions for the developmental agenda of the South to be achieved.

Deputy Minister Pahad congratulated Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik and welcomed the agreement reached during 6-party (US, China, Japan, Russia, North and South Korea) talks on Monday, 19 September 2005 during which North Korea agreed to, among others, relinquish all nuclear programmes and weapons and to return at an early date to the treaty on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik also briefed Deputy Minister Pahad regarding the next round of talks, to which all parties agreed, scheduled for November 2005 and the expected outcomes to be achieved.

Deputy Minister Pahad also indicated that the developments in North Korea with regard to their nuclear programme, bodes well for all nuclear arsenal around the world to be dismantled and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to become a reality.

Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik also briefed Deputy Minister Pahad that the developments within the 6-party talks could pave the way for the expansion and consolidation of bilateral relations between North and South Korea, including the opening up of air, road and rail links which would also lead to the sharing of technical skills between both countries and peoples. Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik also indicated that the unification of North and South Korea remains a very realistic possibility towards which both sides could work in the future.

As mandated by Asian and African Heads of State and Government at the Africa-Asia Summit in Indonesia in April 2005, through the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership, solid bilateral political and economic relations between countries of the South must be translated into stronger economic relations which would create the conditions for better lives for all Asian and African people.

In this regard, both Deputy Minister Pahad and Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik indicated that political and economic relations between South Africa and South Korea are strong and vibrant. Indeed, as members of the Progressive Governance of the 21st Century, both countries share mutual political values and positions.

As regards economic relations, South Africa is South Korea's primary trading partner in Africa and South Korea is South Africa's fourth largest trading partner in Asia.

Korean investment in South Africa amounts to approximately R5.8 billion. Sectors attracting Korean investment are varied and include, amongst others, the manufacture of audio equipment, stainless steel, auto components, nuts and bolts, including building material as well as leather garments and footwear.

In addition, nine prominent South Korean companies have set up offices in South Africa,

Despite these positive developments, both Deputy Minister Pahad and his counterpart undertook to further encourage their private sectors to investigate further economic opportunities between both countries.

Finally, Deputy Minister Pahad briefed his counterpart, Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik regarding developments in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire and Angola. South Africa's participation in peace-keeping initiatives and post-conflict reconstruction and development activities on the Continent were welcomed by Vice Minister Lee, Tae-Sik.

Deputy Minister Pahad will depart for Beijing, China tomorrow, Thursday, 22 September 2005 on the second leg of his three nation central and east Asian visit.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

21 September 2005

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