1. During her visit to Bratislava, the Slovak Republic, for a Republic of Korea-Visegrad Group (V4) Meeting of Foreign Ministers on June 7, Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha met with Slovak Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák. In the meeting, the two Ministers discussed in depth high-level exchanges, substantive cooperation, cooperation on science and technology, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation on the international stage.
2. Minister Lajčák conveyed consolation to the Korean people over the recent boat accident in the Danube River in Hungary; and stated that the Slovak government, on its part, will cooperate actively in handling the aftermath of the accident.
° Minister Kang, extending appreciation to the Slovak government for conveying its heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families of the victims and the people of the ROK as well as for expressing its willingness to render assistance in that regard, asked that the Slovak government continue to render support and cooperate until the end of the search operations for the missing.
3. Minister Kang noted with appreciation that despite the relatively short 26 years of diplomatic history between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993, the ROK and Slovakia have seen remarkable advances in their relations in various sectors. In particular, the Minister welcomed active high-level exchanges, including the two visits to the ROK in 2018 by Slovak President Andrej Kiska.
4. Minister Kang mentioned that some 100 Korean enterprises are operating in Slovakia and thereby contributing to the economic development of the country, calling it an exemplary case in which bilateral economic cooperation is promoting each other’s interests. She went on to ask the Slovak government to pay attention to challenges facing Korean enterprises in the country, such as workforce shortages and the need to expand roads.
° Minister Lajčák welcoming the ROK’s active investment in Slovakia, suggested that the ROK, an important cooperative partner of Slovakia, further strengthen substantive cooperation with the country.
° Minister Kang voiced hope that the scope of cooperation will broaden to include the construction of large-scale infrastructure facilities such as the airport modernization project, science and technology, and future industries.
5. The two sides expressed hope that the Joint Cultural Committee, which will be convened in the second half of the year, will help further promote mutual understanding and exchanges between the peoples of the two countries. They also agreed to work more closely together toward a working holiday agreement, which is currently under discussion.
6. The two Ministers took note of the fact that Slovakia and the ROK are working closely together as the Chair and a Vice-Chair of the 2019 Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), respectively; and agreed to step up cooperation with each other at international organizations, including the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
7. The ROK-Slovakia foreign ministerial meeting is seen to have served as a useful opportunity to explore ways to strengthen substantive cooperation with Slovakia, Korean companies’ gateway to Central Europe, as well as an opportunity to be assured of the Slovak government’s commitment to cooperation in handling the aftermath of the boat accident in Hungary.
* unofficial translation