- Ministry News
FM Pays Courtesy Call on President, Meets with FM of Panama
1. On her way to the United Mexican States for the inauguration ceremony of the new President of the country slated for December 1, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha paid an official visit to the Republic of Panama. On November 30, the Foreign Minister paid a courtesy call on President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, during which the two sides exchanged views on friendly and cooperative relations between the Republic of Korea and the Republic of Panama, as well as how the two countries could step up cooperation on maritime transport and logistics by using the Panama Canal, and bolster substantive cooperation in various other sectors.
° President Varela voiced hope to enhance cooperative ties with the ROK, one of the main users of the Panama Canal (the world’s eighth in terms of cargo load) and Panama’s major trade partner in Asia. In particular, he asked Korean enterprises to take a more active part in the Panamanian government’s main state projects, such as to modernize the Panama Canal and build the Colon Free Trade Zone.
※ Among the Central American signatories to the ROK-Central America FTA, Panama posts the largest trade volume with the ROK and therefore is the ROK’s top trade partner in Central America.
° Minister Kang, taking note of the ROK-Panama cooperation in building infrastructure, such as the recently completed Colon Multi-Thermal Power Plant, asked the President to support bids of Korean enterprises to join the project to construct Line 3 of the Panama Metro and other major infrastructure projects conducted by the Panamanian government.
2. On the heels of her courtesy call on President Varela, Minister Kang met with Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel de Saint Malo, during which the two top diplomats extensively discussed ways to increase substantive cooperation, including on infrastructure construction, science, technology and youth exchanges; ways to work together at international organizations and in responding to regional and global issues; and the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
° The two Ministers noted with appreciation that since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1962, the ROK and Panama had shared with each other such universal values as democracy, market economy and human rights, as well as similar visions; and agreed to broaden the scope of substantive cooperation that had revolved around maritime logistics to include various other sectors.
° The Panamanian side, calling the ROK Panama’s ideal partner in such areas as the e-government system, smart-city construction, energy policy, science and technology, voiced hope to work with the ROK. The two sides agreed to select promising cooperation projects and pursue cooperation in a mutually beneficial way.
° The two sides, expecting that the ROK-Central America FTA, formally signed in February 2018, would contribute greatly to efforts to increase trade and investment between the two countries, agreed to work together to expedite the FTA’s entry into force.
※ The ROK and five Central American countries – the Republic of Panama, the Republic of Costa Rica, the Republic of Honduras, the Republic of El Salvador and the Republic of Nicaragua -- signed the FTA in February 2018. As of November 2018, El Salvador and Nicaragua have completed domestic ratification processes for the FTA.
° With regard to carrying out activities at the UN and other international organizations and in responding to major international issues, the two sides agreed to work more closely together by drawing upon their shared values. In addition, they exchanged views on the current situations on the Korean Peninsula and in Latin America.
° In particular, Minister Kang shared with her Panamanian counterpart the ROK government’s efforts to move the peace process forward on the Korean Peninsula, including toward denuclearization and the establishment of a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, as well the recent progress in those efforts. Minister Saint Malo reaffirmed consistent support for the ROK government’s diplomacy for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
* unofficial translation