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Congratulatory Remarks by H.E. Amb. Lee Taeho Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Occasion of the 2nd Seoul Dialogue on Africa Seoul, 5 December 2019

  • Date : 2019-12-09 15:00:06
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Congratulatory Remarks by H.E. Amb. Lee Taeho
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs
On the Occasion of the 2nd Seoul Dialogue on Africa
Seoul, 5 December 2019

Your Excellency Sarah Anyang Agbor,
African Union Commissioner for Human Resources,
Science and Technology,

Your Honorable Lee Ju-young,
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and
President of the Parliamentary Diplomacy Forum on Africa,

Ambassador Choi Yeon-ho, President of the Korea-Africa Foundation,

Ambassadors, Excellencies and distinguished members of the diplomatic corps in Korea,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be here at the Second Seoul Dialogue on Africa.  I extend a warm welcome to all of you.  I express my gratitude to our co-host, the Korea-Africa Foundation, for all the excellent preparations and arrangements for this meaningful event.

One year ago, in an effort to provide ourselves with an overview of African issues of each year, we announced our plan to hold the Seoul Dialogue on Africa as an annual international conference.  As envisaged last year, we have gathered again today to turn our thoughts to the compelling matter of the integration of Africa.  I am delighted to see a growing number of participants.

Building on the success of the inaugural dialogue, this dialogue has expanded to two full days of sessions.  You will agree with me that the fruits of these advances will be an even more profound and richer exchange of views.

No doubt, Africa is emerging as a focus of renewed attention in every corner of the world.  Major countries are now scrambling to nurture their ties with Africa.  With the benefit of abundant natural resources and the innovative spirit of its people, a great number of African countries are achieving high economic growth.  Democracy and good governance are taking firmer roots.

Indeed, this year was ‘The Year of Africa’.  Africa is now set to be integrated in the economic and political realms. As Ambassador Choi and Deputy Speaker Lee noted earlier, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) agreement finally came into force in May, creating the biggest single market with 1.2 billion people. 

We are witnessing the democratization process unfolding in Sudan.  The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, for his contribution to ending conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The vision for “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, as reflected in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, is becoming a tangible reality.

Distinguished guests,

The Korean government is redoubling its efforts to foster mutually beneficial partnerships between Africa and Korea.  Bonds and goodwill between African countries and Korea are flourishing through active high-level exchanges.   Following Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon’s two visits to Africa last year, my Minister, Minister Kang Kyung-wha, made her first trip as Foreign Minister to Africa in July.  What is more, as many as twelve parliamentary delegations visited Africa this year. 

Furthermore, the Korea-Africa Foundation, which was established last year as the 4th affiliate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is serving as a valuable platform for public-private exchanges between us. A range of initiatives especially in the fields of youth and business have been organized, providing wonderful opportunities for the two sides to meet.  Of particular note, the Korea-Africa Startup/SMEs Fair and the Korea-Africa Business Forum were held last month in collaboration with the African Union, on the sidelines of the AU’s 2019 Africa Industrialization Week.

Distinguished guests,

I do believe that partnerships between Africa and Korea can be strengthened in particular in the fields of climate change and sustainable development. 

Climate change represents a great threat to Africa.  The challenges that the people of Mozambique had to face and endure as a result of the cyclones in April tell us how important it is for the international community to come together and take action.  The Korean Government is ready and willing to engage in concerted efforts with African partners, to join hands, to address these global issues.  As host of the Global Green Growth Institute, Korea has been a strong supporter of GGGI in helping developing countries address climate change and achieve SDGs.
Moreover, President Moon Jae-in announced that the Korean government will host the 2020 P4G Summit next year in Seoul.  I would very much like to see Korea and African countries make joint efforts to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Distinguished guests,

I take this chance to say a heartfelt thank-you to our African friends for their invaluable support for building lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.  My government is firmly committed to resolving the North Korean nuclear issue through peaceful dialogue and engagement.
In this vein, President Moon Jae-in outlined his vision in his address to the 74th UN General Assembly to transform the Demilitarized Zone into an international peace zone based on the three principles of resolving issues related to the Korean Peninsula, namely, zero tolerance for war, mutual security guarantee and co-prosperity.  We look forward to our African friends’ continued support for our endeavor toward complete denuclearization and establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Distinguished Guests,

Korea is not only a very fitting partner for Africa but a very willing one as well.  It is my sincere hope that today’s dialogue will serve as a timely and valuable opportunity for us to explore ways to create a renewed partnership between Africa and Korea.

Before I conclude my remarks, I would like to extend my deep gratitude to the moderators, panelists, speakers in various sessions, many of whom have come all the way to Seoul to attend this Dialogue. 

Thank you. /end/