Park plans to build ties in Africa

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Park plans to build ties in Africa

During her upcoming trip to Africa, President Park Geun-hye will seek to build a cooperative partnership with the region, the Blue House said Sunday.

Park will visit Ethiopia from Wednesday to Saturday, Uganda from Saturday to May 30 and Kenya from May 30 to June 1, the Blue House said, providing more specific itineraries of her tour. Following the trip to Africa, Park will visit France from June 1 to June 4 and return to Korea on June 5.

“Africa is the last growth engine of the global community,” said Kim Kyou-hyun, presidential senior secretary for foreign affairs.

“With its improving political stability, high economic growth and expected increase of middle-class members of society to 500 million by 2030, many countries are pursuing Africa’s potentials. Park will visit the three largest economies of East Africa and build the basis for a cooperative partnership.”

According to Kim, Korea has selected development cooperation as a key foreign policy agenda for this year, and the newly-created “Korea Aid” project, to be launched in three countries during Park’s visit, will fuel this effort.

Park is also scheduled to give a speech at the African Union headquarters to announce Korea’s new policy vision for the continent.

“Park’s visit for Africa is in line with the trends of major global powers such as the United States, China and Japan,” Kim said.

Another senior presidential official on policy coordination, An Chong-bum, also said Park’s trip, and the cooperative projects to be launched in the three countries, are intended to create a favorable business environment for Korean companies. “Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya are aggressively implementing policies to grow their industries with middle and long-term economic development plans,” he said. “We have high expectation of economic cooperation with Korea.”

Park will arrive in Ethiopia on Wednesday evening and attend an official welcoming ceremony on Thursday. She will take part in a summit with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn followed by a state dinner, as well as a separate meeting with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome.

On Friday, Park will visit the headquarters of the African Union and give a special address. A business forum and other events, including a meeting with Korean troops dispatched to the country, are also scheduled.

On Saturday, she will attend the launch ceremony of Korea Aid. After arriving in Uganda on Saturday, she will attend an official welcoming ceremony on Sunday and have a summit with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. She is the first Korean president to visit the country since diplomatic relations were established in 1963.

During her visit, Park and Museveni will attend an event on Saemaul Undong, a community movement promoted by Park’s late father, Park Chung Hee. Uganda has been particularly enthusiastic about the movement, the Blue House said.

She will visit Kenya as her final destination in Africa. An official welcoming ceremony and a summit with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya will take place on May 31.

A large business delegation will also follow Park to Africa and France. According to the government, 111 Korean companies will accompany Park during her trip to Africa and 101 companies to France.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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