15 July 2019
Minister Pandor holds fruitful discussions with her Republic of Korea counterpart, Dr Kang Kyung-wha
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, had fruitful discussions earlier today with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Dr Kang Kyung-wha, who has concluded a two-day Working Visit to South Africa as part of her tour of three African countries, including Ethiopia and Ghana.
Whilst in South Africa, Minister Kang also participated in a ROK Regional Heads of Mission conference. Earlier today, Dr Kang addressed the “Korea-Africa Economic Forum”, a public-private international economic forum, jointly hosted by the Korea-Africa Foundation (KAF) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg.
The meeting between the two Foreign Ministers covered several bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest, inter alia the status of bilateral relations between the two countries, trade and investment, technical cooperation, Korea-Africa trade and development cooperation, and other international issues of importance.
The engagement took place against the background of the high-level, first meeting last year, on the margins of the G20 Summit in Argentina, between Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Moon Jae-in from the ROK.
South Africa and the ROK used the opportunity of Minister Kang’s visit to South Africa to take stock of the countries’ bilateral ties, spanning many areas of cooperation, including to discuss how trade and investment relations could be further strengthened, expanded and deepened. The ROK, as the 12th largest global economy and South Africa’s fourth largest trading partner in Asia, offers valuable lessons in terms of its rapid economic development since the end of the Korean War in the 1950s.
As far as the African continent is concerned, the two Ministers exchanged views on partnerships and development initiatives within the framework of the Africa-Korea Forum, as well as to discuss the vast economic opportunities that the African Continental Free Trade .Agreement (AfCFTA) – officially launched a week ago at the African Union Summit in Niger – present to industrialised countries such as the ROK. Being already the ROK’s largest trading partner in Africa, South Africa is ideally positioned to serve as a regional hub from which Korean companies could further venture, economically, into the Continent.
Ministers Pandor and Kang also discussed enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of skills development and education, cultural exchange, immigration, and other sectoral fields, and agreed to co-chair the next Ministerial Meeting of the joint structured bilateral mechanism, at the earliest, mutually convenient opportunity.
As far as multilateral issues of mutual interest are concerned, the two Ministers inter alia briefed each other on regional developments of importance and exchanged views on several prominent global issues, including to continue to seek multilateral solutions to global challenges.
Minister Pandor further acknowledged the role that the ROK is playing internationally, including on the African continent through its contributions to peace-keeping efforts in South Sudan; and in terms of the ROK’s successful admission last year as the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA) 9th Dialogue Partner (at the 18th IORA Council of Ministers’ Meeting held in Durban on 02 November 2018). In the latter regard, Minister Pandor expressed South Africa’s confidence that the ROK will play a pivotal role in advancing the objectives of IORA, as the apex body in the Indian Ocean Region.
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