KAMPALA —Uganda and the Republic of Korea will next year, 2023 celebrate the 60 years of smooth diplomatic ties, the Korean Ambassador to Kampala, Mr. Park Sung-Soo has said.
The Ambassador was speaking at a reception on Wednesday to mark the National Foundation Day and Armed Forces Day held at Sheraton Hotel Gardens in Ugandan capital Kampala.
Mr. Sung-Soo said Uganda and Republic of Korea have witnessed a steady growth of their partnership in various fields of cooperation including, mutual trust and understanding but said, “we understand there’s room for improvement in our relations”.
In this regard, he highlighted that the high-level exchanges have continued to momentum in the relationship of both counties.
In particular, he said, both presidents’ states visits respectively in 2013 and 2016, laid a solid foundation for future cooperation and expanded the horizon of their partnership.
“Development cooperation with Uganda has also strengthened in a relatively short period of time. Our ODA cooperation with Uganda began in earnest in 2010. Within just 3 years, in 2013, the Korean government took the step of designating Uganda as one of the priority ODA partners, in the hopes of supporting Uganda more in her move forward in the right direction,” Ambassador Sung-Soo said.
The Ambassador said that the Korean government has focused on what Uganda needs—extending the cooperation between both countries through the KOICA, KOPIA and KOFIH country offices, in the areas of healthcare, education development.
“We will carry on our development Cooperation with Uganda in order to support her relentless efforts in enhancing her human capital and economic growth while fully sharing “our economic development experience and technical knowledge”.
In recognition of the great efforts required to respond to the refugee influx in Uganda, Korea he said has looked for ways to help Uganda better engage with this situation.
“In September, in collaboration with the WFP, we made the fourth
donation of 6,000 tonnes of rice for refugees in Uganda,” he said, noting that, KOICA is currently cooperating with UNDP to implement an economic empowerment programme for women in
refugee camps and reception centres, as well as working in perternship with UNHCR to accelerate Uganda’s implementation of the much sought after Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.
The Ambassador proposed the establishment of frameworks to help boost the economic cooperation between both countries in areas of trade and investment, noting that plenty of indicators show Uganda as a regional economic hub.
“The Korean Government is making efforts to increase exchanges and cooperation with African countries including Uganda. President Yoon has announced a plan to hold the first ever Korea-Africa Summit in 2024. The summit, I am sure, will create vigorous momentum that will open a new chapter in the history of Korea-Africa relations. I believe that Uganda will be a part of this wonderful history-making event,” he said.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs in-charge of International Affairs Henry Okello Oryem congratulated the government of Korea on their National Foundation Day and Armed Forces Day.
He said Uganda and Korea have enjoyed excellent and mutually beneficial political, economic and historical relations based on the principles of mutual respect, democracy and share interests.
“I note with satisfaction a number of high-level bilateral visits in the recent past, with the most recent led by H.E Mr. Choi Jongmoon, 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Korea in November 2021. These meetings at a high-level have underscored the character of our relations and reflected the meeting of minds in key areas”.
In the area of development cooperation, the Minister said Korea has been a strategic partner for Uganda in socio-economic development.
He said KOICA has significantly impacted various sectors and groups in Uganda.
He said, some of the numerous project which Korea has been partnered in include; the development of the fruit processing factory in Soroti Industrial Park which is addressing value addition in the agriculture sector; the $864m partnership between Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) Uganda Center and National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) to support Elgon farmers to boost the growing of high-yield animal pastures and other infrastructure projects.
He also applauded Korean government for the donations made through various programmes totalling $6,575,132 as support during the COVID-19 pandemic and the donation of three new vehicles to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He said Kampala remains committed to supporting the process of peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula without outside interference.
“We continue to urge dialogue between the leaders of the Republic of Korea and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and strongly believe that the only means of a solution will be through peaceful processes between the two Koreas.”
The ceremony was also graced by the State minister for defence, Jacob Marksons Oboth Oboth, Minister of State for Health Margaret Muhanga Mugisa, Minister of State for Environment Betty Anwar.
Others were defense attaches, heads of diplomatic missions and the Korean community in Uganda.