Strong ties with KoreaOn Aug. 24, the people of Ukraine celebrated its 22nd anniversary of independence in 1991. The way leading to independence wasn’t easy, nor the years following it. Still, Ukraine succeeded in developing peaceful, mutually beneficial and effective cooperation - based on principles and norms of international law - with members of the international community, including the Republic of Korea.
Today a search for new trade and economic partners on all continents, an establishment of constructive cooperation with new political and economic centers, becomes more and more crucial for Ukraine.
At present South Korea ranks third among Ukraine’s trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region after China and India. Bilateral trade between Ukraine and Korea has been increasing steadily. Thus, in 2011, it amounted to $1.7 billion, and in 2012, it amounted to $2.03 billion. This year’s bilateral trade turnover is expected to increase similarly.
Among Asian countries, South Korea remains one of the leading investors in Ukraine. As of 2012, the total amount of direct South Korean investment into Ukraine’s economy accounted for $171.5 million.
In this regard it is worth mentioning that the possible conditions of participation of KOGAS and Daewoo International Corporation in implementation of the National Project of Ukraine “LNG-terminal” are currently being elaborated.
Ukraine and South Korea also actively cooperate in science and technology. This cooperation started in 1992. Recent positive examples of such cooperation is the successful launch of the rocket carrier Dnipro, which put into orbit the Korean satellite KompSat-5 (or Arirang-5) on Aug. 22. Dnipro was created on the basis of intercontinental ballistic missile RS-20, developed by the Ukrainian developer Pivdenne Design Bureau and manufactured by the Pivdenmash in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
Nowadays Ukraine is an important player in international relations. In 2011, Ukraine headed the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the first time, and in 2012 chaired the Central European Initiative. This year is marked for Ukraine by its chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In this regard, it is worth noting that the number of tasks that Ukraine indicated as priorities for its chairmanship have already been implemented. We greatly appreciate the participation of the Korean delegation in the high-level conference Strengthening the OSCE Response to Trafficking in Human Beings (Kiev, June 10?11, 2013) and the OSCE Children and Youth Summit (Crimea, July 20?Aug. 1, 2013).
Ukraine supports the trust-building process in Northeast Asia put forth by the Korean President Park Geun-Hye, aiming to create in the region a “Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperative Initiative” - a process that would be similar to the Helsinki process.
It is a well-known fact that Ukraine is also a country where many world sports and art stars are born and raised. Among them are such famous athletes as pole-vaulter Sergey Bubka, football player Andriy Shevchenko, swimmer Yana Klochkova, and boxers Vitaliy and Volodymyr Klychko.
Ukraine, together with Poland, successfully hosted the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship. Several years of preparations were placed into the one month of wonderful events marked by both Ukrainian fans and fans of other nations.
Ukraine and South Korea have great potential for further cooperation in the field of sports. During 2013, Korean sportsmen visited Ukraine for several events. One of the most significant sporting events this year, with Korean athletes representing South Korea, is the World Festival of Calisthenics, taking place in Kiev from Aug. 27 to Sep. 1. Conversely, Ukrainian sportsmen also participate in many events taking place in South Korea. The latest is the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju City from Aug. 25 to Sep. 1.
The cooperation in cultural sphere between the two countries is also fruitful. On Nov. 6?7, 2012, for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Days of Ukrainian culture took place in Korea, as well as the Days of Korean culture in Ukraine.
Ukrainian artists participate in various contests and festivals that take place in Korea. Ukrainian ballet dancers successfully performed during the 6th Korea International Ballet Competition, June 22?26, and the concerts of the Sevastopol City Chamber-Symphonic Orchestra performed in its tour of Korea earlier this year from June 18 to July 10. The concerts were warmly accepted by the Korean audience.
There are also many interesting projects and plans for the future in other spheres of cooperation between Ukraine and the Republic of Korea, and we believe their fulfillment will be very conducive to further developing Ukraine?South Korea bilateral relations.
*The author is Ambassador of Ukraine to Korea.
BY Vasyl Marmazov