1. Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Lee Tae-ho, together with Minister of Economic Development and Trade Nematullo Khikmatullozoda of Tajikistan, held the first meeting of the Republic of Korea-Tajikistan joint committee on economic, technical and scientific cooperation at the Foreign Ministry on April 18.
* The ROK delegation to the meeting was comprised of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The Tajik side included delegates from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies, the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, and the Embassy in the ROK.
* The joint committee meeting came pursuant to the bilateral Agreement on Economic, Technical and Scientific Cooperation signed in April 2015 in the presence of the Presidents of the two countries.
2. The first meeting of the joint committee took place in the significant year marking the 25th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic relations and to follow up on the summit talks held during President Emomali Rahmon’s visit to the ROK in April 2015. It covered ways that the two countries can work together in a mutually beneficial manner in various sectors, including trade, investment, labor, water resources, energy, textile, development, education, healthcare, and aviation.
* The ROK and Tajikistan established diplomatic relations on April 27, 1992.
3. In the meeting, the ROK discussed ways to work more closely on water management with the country with the world’s eighth-largest water resources; to render assistance to the country with the latter’s efforts to modernize its textile industry; and to seek a framework agreement on grant aid and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation on health and medical care in a bid to bolster the institutional foundation for diversifying substantive cooperation. As such, the meeting is seen to have served as an opportunity to build a new momentum for increased comprehensive cooperation between the two countries.
* Sixty percent of the water resources in Central Asia is in Tajikistan.
* Cotton accounts for approximately 60% of agricultural output by Tajikistan. Out of an annual 100,000 tons of cotton produced in the country, 90% is exported.
° [Trade and Investment] The two sides agreed to seek a fuller realization of the potential of the trade between the two countries that have been seeing a gradual increase in the volume of two-way trade since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, and to boost bilateral investment.
° [Water Resources and Energy] The two sides, taking note of the joint efforts by the governments of their two countries to manage water in a sustainable manner, agreed to work more closely together on water resources by having Tajik experts take part in the ROK’s “training on smart water management in Central Asia” program in the second half of 2017.
* The “training on smart water management in Central Asia” program: Water resource experts in the five Central Asian countries will be invited to the ROK in the second half of 2017 for education on smart water management as well as technological and people-to-people exchanges.
° [Textile] The two sides agreed to look into ways that the ROK can support Tajikistan’s bid to modernize its textile industry, including building a channel of cooperation between textile groups of the two countries and concluding an MOU for cooperation in the field.
° [Development Cooperation] The Tajik delegation extended appreciation to the ROK government over the contribution of its grant aid projects to socio-economic development of Tajikistan as well as improvements in the quality of its people’s lives. The two sides agreed to seek an early conclusion of a bilateral framework agreement on grant aid.
° [Healthcare] The two sides, hailing the efforts to sign the bilateral MOU for cooperation on health and medical care, agreed to further step up cooperation pursuant to the MOU in such relevant areas as healthcare and medical services, training programs for and exchanges among medical experts, and trade in pharmaceuticals and medical supplies.
4. The ROK and Tajikistan, the ROK government’s partner for diplomacy toward Central Asia for shared prosperity as well as partner for cooperation with Eurasia, will hold the “seventh Korea-Central Asia Caravan” event and “the eleventh Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum” in the second half of 2017 to build on the outcome of the joint committee meeting. The two countries will also hold various cultural exchange events in efforts to further enhance understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.
* “The Korea-Central Asia Caravan” is a public diplomacy event held jointly by the private and public sectors since 2011 to promote mutual understanding and comprehensive cooperation between the ROK and the five Central Asian countries.
- The sixth round held in March 2016 consisted of a policy consultation; a program for small- and medium-sized enterprises; an ROK-Central Asia international seminar; cultural performances, K-pop contest and others.
* “The Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum” is an annually convened consultative mechanism established in 2007 at the initiative of the ROK government for multilateral cooperation between the ROK and the five Central Asian countries. Various events will take place in 2017 to mark the 25th anniversary of the ROK’s diplomatic ties with the Central Asian countries.
* unofficial translation