1. On November 14, Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Kim Hyoung-zhin met bilaterally with Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific affairs Fazilov Gayrat of Uzbekistan, who was on a visit to the Republic of Korea for the tenth Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum. In their meeting, the two ranking diplomats discussed the ROK-Uzbekistan relations; ways to step up substantive cooperation; the North Korean nuclear issue; and ways to work together on the international stage.
2. The two Deputy Ministers noted with appreciation that since forging diplomatic relations in 1992, the ROK and Uzbekistan, as steadfast strategic partners, have held 14 summit meetings and completed a gas-chemical plant in Surgil, and are broadening their scope of cooperation to include energy, infrastructure, national defense and relevant industry, development, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
3. Deputy Minister Kim extended appreciation to the Uzbek government for its constant support for the ROK government’s position on the North Korean nuclear issue and asked it to continue taking part in international efforts to sanction and pressure North Korea in response to its nuclear and missile threats.
° Deputy Minister Fazilov, noting that Uzbekistan has always been like-minded with the ROK on international issues, reaffirmed unwavering support.
4. The ROK-Uzbekistan deputy ministerial meeting, which came ahead of the 25 anniversary of diplomatic ties and the 80th anniversary of the settlement of ethnic Koreans in Central Asia in 2017, is seen to have served as an opportunity to intensify the momentum of cooperation across the board, including political affairs, economy and culture, with Uzbekistan, the ROK’s major ally and largest trading partner in Central Asia.
* unofficial translation