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Kuwait marks double celebration in February

Marks its 59th National Day and 29th Liberation Day

Feb 25,2020
View of Kuwait City. [EMBASSY OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT]
It is that festive time of the year again for the people of the State of Kuwait as they excitedly prepare for the nation’s 59th National Day on Feb. 25 and the 29th anniversary of Liberation Day the following day, Feb. 26.

On this special occasion, it is my great pleasure and honor to extend my warmest greetings to the government and the people of the friendly nation of the Republic of Korea.

I am honored to have witnessed the major accomplishments our two proud nations — the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Korea — have made as true partners during the last 40 years since the establishment of our diplomatic ties in 1979.

Our close and enduring friendship has made it possible for our two nations to cherish and celebrate each other’s happy occasions with utmost respect and sincerity. In light of this, I would like to thank all government institutions, organizations and private companies that have strived toward this level of excellent relations, finding new opportunities in both the traditional oil, energy and construction fields as well as the new non-traditional health, education and smart technology fields.

Looking back at 2019, I am proud of the success the Kuwait-Korea partnership experienced.

To start off, the total trade volume between the two countries in 2019 was an impressive $11.7 billion.

Furthermore, 2019 was a year of numerous historical visits between the two friendly countries. From February to March, there was the visit of the Kuwait Fifth Parliamentary Friendship Group headed by H.E. Dr. Adel J. A. M. Aldamkhi, member of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, to the Republic of Korea, to meet with H.E. Lee Ju-young, deputy speaker of the Korean National Assembly, as well as the members of the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee; the visit of the Kuwaiti Amiri Guard delegation to receive training from the Korean Presidential Security Service; and the visit of the delegation headed by H.E. Counsellor Abdulrahman Alnemash, chairman of the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority, to participate in the anticorruption workshop organized by the Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission.

April and May were the highlight of 2019 for the Kuwait-Korea partnership as it was marked by the historical visit of H.E. Lee Nak-yon, 45th prime minister of the Republic of Korea, to the State of Kuwait, from April 30 to May 3, where His Excellency met H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, amir of the State of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, 7th prime minister of the State of Kuwait, and H.E. Marzouq Ali Alghanim, speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly. H.E. Lee Nak-yon also expressed his pleasure to take part in the inauguration ceremony of the Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway worth over $3 billion whose contractors included Hyundai Engineering & Construction and GS Engineering & Construction. The four-day visit concluded with the signing of the following eight agreements which affirmed the two nations’ active steps toward achieving expansion and diversification in the Kuwait-
Korea partnership:

• Memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (Kotra) and Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (Kdipa)

• MOU between the Incheon Free Economic Zone and Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (Kdipa)

• MOU between the Korea Customs Service and Kuwait General Administration of Customs

• MOU between the Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority

• Letter of intent between the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare and Kuwaiti Ministry of Health

• MOU between the Korea National Diplomatic Academy and Saud N. Al-Sabah Kuwait Diplomatic Institute

• MOU between the Korean Presidential Security Service and the Kuwaiti Amiri Guard Authority

• MOU calling for bilateral cooperation in the field of arts and culture

The latter half of the year also witnessed a few visits including another visit by the Kuwaiti Amiri Guard delegation to the Republic of Korea in October to receive training from the Korean Presidential Security Service and a visit by H.E. Dr. Sheikh Meshaal Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, director-general for Kdipa, to the Republic of Korea to participate in the Korea-Kuwait Investment Forum, co-hosted by Kdipa and Citibank Korea, aimed at Korean companies interested in business and investment opportunities in the State of Kuwait, and to meet Dr. Kwon Pyung-oh, CEO of Kotra.

In addition to the aforementioned high-level visits, there was much progress in the on-going mega-projects in the State of Kuwait in which many Korean companies participated.

From top: South Saad Al-Abdullah Smart City, New Jahra Hospital and Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Causeway. [EMBASSY OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT]
As both our countries are already well aware, the close Kuwait-Korea partnership contributed greatly to implementing the ambitious development projects in the State of Kuwait since the 1970s.

During the past eight years specifically, more than 20 Korean companies managed to obtain contracts for the implementation of mega-projects within Kuwait’s development plans, which are the first and vital steps toward achieving the Kuwaiti Vision 2035 “New Kuwait” aimed at transforming the nation into a commercial and financial center in the region. From 2012 to 2019, over 20 Korean companies participated in projects worth over $30 billion. This does not include the South Saad Al-Abdullah Smart City project carried out by Korea Land & Housing Corporation which would add another estimated $20 billion to the total value of projects.

Furthermore, 2019 was particularly noteworthy in that Korean companies have become involved in development projects within the Kuwaiti Vision 2035 with new roles such as operation and management. Seoul National University Hospital has been approved to operate and manage the new Jahra Hospital in Kuwait, which will be the largest hospital in the Middle East, and Incheon International Airport Corporation has been selected to be in charge of operating and managing the new Terminal 4 of Kuwait International Airport.

There was also an unprecedented achievement in December, when Taihan Electric Wire agreed to establish a fiber optic cable manufacturing joint venture in Kuwait. The signing of this agreement comes shortly after the Korean cable manufacturer secured a construction order of the Al Mutlaa City underground power grid project for $76 million. The strategic alliance between Taihan Electric Wire and its Kuwaiti partners signifies great progress in boosting cooperation between the private sectors of our two countries.

The new year has much in store for us as both our countries work together consistently to meet our mutual interests.

For instance, I look forward to the launching of the $1.2 billion joint venture between SK Chemicals and Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company in the first quarter of 2020. This joint venture, which was signed back in August 2019, is a reaffirmation of the long-term trust developed between the two companies. I must also mention that I am excited for the continuation of the project to build 7 liquefied petroleum gas carriers carried out by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for Kuwait Oil Tanker Company, which is approaching its completion. I am confident that such strategic cooperation will play a major role in further expanding bilateral ties between the two countries in the traditional field of oil and energy.

H.E. Bader Mohammad AlAwadi, ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the Republic of Korea, poses for a picture at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Seoul. [EMBASSY OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT]
At the same time, I expect to see exploration in new areas such as green and renewable energy, especially after Kuwait became an official member of the Global Green Growth Institute to support the institute’s global cause of implementing a new development paradigm, concentrated on a model of economic growth that is both environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. Kuwait’s commitment to green growth will definitely open new windows of opportunities for the Kuwait-Korea partnership. In fact, efforts to increase bilateral cooperation in this new field have already been in the works, as shown by the 2014 Kuwaiti Clean Fuels Project, where the first stage worth $3.7 billion was designated to Samsung Engineering and the second stage worth $3.4 billion was designated to Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Engineering & Construction. GS Engineering & Construction and SK Engineering & Construction were also a part of this strategic plan to expand and upgrade refineries in Mina Abdullah and Mina Al-Ahmadi and transform them into an integrated refining complex. In addition to the Kuwaiti Clean Fuels Project, Korea Electric Power Corporation and the Ministry of Electricity and Water of the State of Kuwait are proud of their test complex for layered solar power generation in Kuwait which they have jointly operated since 2018. Such efforts demonstrate the potential the two countries have to boost cooperation in green and renewable energy in the coming future.

On the occasion of National Day and Liberation Day of the State of Kuwait, I would like to once again look back and praise the incredible work the State of Kuwait and the Republic of Korea accomplished to expand and diversify its strategic alliance. I am most positive that 2020 will turn out to be another triumphant year for the Kuwait-Korea partnership.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express my most profound gratitude to the friendly people and the government of the Republic of Korea and my earnest hopes that our partnership continues to enjoy peace, stability and prosperity.


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