1. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha hosted a working luncheon for dean of the African diplomatic corps in the Republic of Korea — Ambassador from the Gabonese Republic Carlos Boungou — and Ambassadors from other African countries to the ROK at her official residence on March 8.
2. The first exchange event in 2019 between the Minister and the diplomatic corps in the ROK took place to discuss effective ways to broaden the ROK’s diplomatic horizon to Africa and further promote the mutually beneficial partnership between the ROK and Africa in line with the ROK government’s “diplomatic diversification” policy.
3. In her welcoming remarks, Minister Kang brought attention to the fact that although the ROK shared with African countries such historical experiences as colonial occupation by another country, it was the only country in the world that had built market economy and achieved democracy over the period of a half century. She went on to stress that the ROK would further enhance its relations with Africa, which was working hard to achieve the goals of “integration, prosperity, and peace,” including by recording a high economic growth rate; establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); and conducting elections in a peaceful and democratic way and concluding peace treaties.
° In particular, the Minister added that during her visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Madagascar and many other African countries while in service at the UN, she had seen passion and hope of the locals despite unrests and humanitarian crises, which had assured her of a bright future of Africa. On that note, she expressed keen interest in and affection for the continent.
° The Minister shared with the Ambassadors the ROK government’s plan to continue dialogue with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on the back of the ironclad Republic of Korea-United States alliance. Saying that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula could have positive impact on Africa, the Minister asked for continued support for the ROK government’s efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
4. In his remarks in response to the Minister’s, dean of the African diplomatic corps in the ROK and Ambassador from Gabon Carlos Boungou extended appreciation to the ROK government for its active diplomatic diversification efforts in Africa, including launching the Korea-Africa Foundation and the two Africa tours by the Prime Minister in 2018; and reaffirmed the unswerving support of African countries for the ROK government’s work toward the denuclearization of the DPRK and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
5. At the working luncheon, the two sides discussed ways to enhance the ROK’s image in Africa and to bolster mutually beneficial partnership between the two regions by building on the results of the survey co-conducted by the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Korea-Africa Foundation.
° As a result of the survey, ROK people have been confirmed to hold various views regarding Africa, including in terms of its potential, dynamics and poverty. In the survey, many people also opined that the government needed to support bids of young Koreans and enterprises to build presence in Africa, which has great growth potential.
° Toward the end of the event, the African Ambassadors and the officials from the ROK Foreign Ministry sang a Korean pop song to the guitar music played by the Ambassador from the Republic of The Gambia to the ROK.
6. Going forward, the Foreign Ministry plans to host, together with the Korea-Africa Foundation, various events in a bid to promote mutual understanding as well as friendly and cooperative ties with Africa.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.