1. On March 30, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov of Turkmenistan, who was on an official visit to the Republic of Korea, the first of its kind by a Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan since the establishment of the ROK-Turkmenistan diplomatic relations in 1992.
° In their meeting, Foreign Minister Kang and Deputy Prime Minister Meredov discussed matters in a wide range of areas, including ways to enhance the bilateral relations, step up substantive cooperation in a future-oriented manner, build peace on the Korean Peninsula, and work together on the regional and global levels.
2. Minister Kang, taking note of the steady advances in the ROK-Turkmenistan ties in political affairs, economy, culture and various other sectors since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, voiced hope that Deputy Prime Minister Meredov’s visit to the ROK will help in opening up another 25 years of bilateral relations.
° Deputy Prime Minister Meredov, calling the ROK and Turkmenistan long-standing friends and brotherly countries with numerous similarities language- and culture-wise, voiced hope to work with Minister Kang to bolster the relations and cooperation between the two countries.
° The Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with robust cultural and sports exchanges held in 2017, including the exchange of visits by performance troupes in celebration of the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations and Korean athletes’ participation in the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games; and agreed to continue exchanges and cooperation in the fields.
3. The two sides agreed to work together, based on the mutually complementary economic structures of the two countries, to forge future-oriented and mutually beneficial ties for economic cooperation; step up cooperation on energy and infrastructure; diversify areas of substantive cooperation; and bolster legal and institutional foundations for more vigorous economic cooperation.
° In particular, the two sides agreed to put in high gear inter-governmental channels for economic cooperation; and work together to increase cooperation between companies of the two countries on energy, resources and infrastructure, and to cultivate high value-added industries in Turkmenistan.
4. Minister Kang stressed that the mood of inter-Korean dialogue set over the PyeongChang Winter Olympics is helping to create a significant milestone toward peace on the Korean Peninsula and progress in inter-Korean relations, as can be seen from the inter-Korean and US-North Korea summit talks scheduled to take place in April and May, respectively. She went on to ask Turkmenistan to continue paying attention and rendering support in this regard.
° Deputy Prime Minister Meredov stated that Turkmenistan, a permanently neutral country that tangibly implements the principles and norms for international peace and security under the UN Charter, supports the efforts to build peace on and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
5. The Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister drew a common understanding that the ROK and Turkmenistan need to work more closely with each other on regional and global stages.
° Minister Kang shared with the Turkmenian side information on the ROK’s New Northern Policy, the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum and cooperation projects between the ROK and the five Central Asian countries; and asked for Turkmenistan’s support for the ROK in elections of various international organizations.
° Deputy Prime Minister Meredov spoke about the situation in Central Asia and commended the ROK for its role for increased cooperation in the region.
6. On the heels of their meeting, Foreign Minister Kang and Deputy Prime Minister Meredov signed the “cooperation program 2018-2020 between the ROK and Turkmenian Foreign Ministries,” which mainly calls for promoting exchanges between the two Foreign Ministries and working more closely together on regional and global stages.
7. The ROK-Turkmenistan foreign ministerial meeting, held during the first visit to the former by a Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the latter since the establishment of diplomatic relations, is seen to have served as an opportunity to affirm the two countries’ commitment to work together to enhance bilateral political and economic ties, for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, and on regional and global stages; and to pave the way for opening up another 25 years of bilateral relations.
* unofficial translation