Turkmen - Korean bilateral relations are on a path of mutually beneficial development
Adhering to the foreign policy based on the principles of positive Neutrality, peacefulness, good neighborliness, the “Open doors” policy and broad cooperation, Turkmenistan is constantly working on strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of its political, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation with neighboring and distant countries, with the United Nations and its entities, as well as other major international organizations.
At present, as a result of the successful implementation of the initiatives for the development of international cooperation put forward by Hero-Arkadag under the leadership of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan attaches great importance to strengthening bilateral partnership with the Republic of Korea, based on the principles of friendship, trust and mutual understanding.
In fact, the two countries made close contacts via Silk Road for more than 1000 years although geographically they are about 6,000 km apart from each other. Goguryeo, an ancient Korean kingdom located in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
The cultural heritage our two countries share, including sedentary lifestyle, large family, respect for elders, hospitality toward guests, bowing, etc., seem to have come from this long historical background.
Fast-forwarding to the present, the two countries have strengthened and deepened bilateral relations over the last 31 years through close high-level and people-to-people exchanges. The opening of Embassies of the Republic of Korea in Turkmenistan opened in June 2007 and Turkmenistan in Seoul in 2013 was one of the important steps in the history of diplomatic relations between the two states. The bilateral relationship was upgraded to a Mutually Beneficial Partnership after two summit meetings were held in the year 2008 alone.
New forms of active joint political and diplomatic cooperation have been established. Interstate visits at the highest level play a special role here.
Speaking at the International Forum of Northern Economic Cooperation in Seoul on November 18, 2021, Hero-Arkadag noted that Turkmenistan considers the Forum as an important international platform for discussing and developing strategic vectors of economic cooperation in Eurasia, as well as a successful continuation of mutually beneficial economic partnership with the Republic of Korea in a bilateral and multilateral format.
A special place in the development of bilateral relations between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea is assigned to the development of contacts at the highest level, including the exchanges of the visits of the Heads of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea, as well as to the inter-parliamentary cooperation.
On 27-30 November, 2022, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Chairman of the Halk Maslakhaty of Milli Gengesh of Turkmenistan, invited by the speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Kim Jin Pyo, had made an official visit to Korea for the third time. His visit was very successful in that he has had a meeting with President Yoon Suk-Yeul, bilateral meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly Kim Jin Pyo, business consultation with Korean businessmen and signing of 7 Memoranda of Understanding.
The visit of the Hero-Arkadag to the Republic of Korea last year opened a new chapter in the development of cooperation between the two countries, expressing confidence that the current negotiations will serve to further build it up.
During the official visit of the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Kim Jin-Pyo to Turkmenistan on July 20, 2023, Hero-Arkadag stressed that high-level negotiations are a positive opportunity for an interested exchange of views, which is especially important in the context of strengthening the legislative framework for interstate strategic cooperation.
Close attention is paid to the successful development of relations between the two countries on a multi-format basis, in particular, within the framework of the “Central Asia-Republic of Korea” forum. This is a clear demonstration of the strengthening of the positions of parliamentary diplomacy in cooperation in the political and diplomatic sphere Turkmen-Korean cooperation has reached a qualitatively new level of development in recent years.
In this regard, on the 1st of November, 2023, the 16th meeting of the cooperation forum "Central Asia - Republic of Korea" was held in Ashgabat. These high-level negotiations are a positive opportunity for an interested exchange of views, which is especially important in the context of strengthening the legislative framework for interstate strategic cooperation.
The conviction was expressed that the potential of young people in the process of forming sustainable development should be realized by intensifying their participation both in the implementation of national plans and programs, and by expanding international cooperation in this area. At the same time, the importance of the global initiatives “Youth 2030”, “Generation Without Borders”, “World Heritage Volunteers”, and the Global Youth Community.
There we have to mention the important role of the Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, in whose work a special place is given to holding meetings and negotiations with leaders of leading Korean business circles.
Today a significant role is given to the realization of the intellectual, creative and spiritual potential of young people in the interests of society and the state, the development of youth public and parliamentary structures.
Also, the basis of equal and mutually beneficial cooperation between Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea is close trade and economic relations, and here, in addition to cooperation in the petrochemical, textile, transport and agricultural sectors, there is a great potential for partnership in high-tech innovative areas. A historic event in bilateral relations was the opening and commissioning of the polymer plant in Kiyanly, built by the Korean companies LG International Corp and Hyundai Engineering with the participation of the Japanese company TOYO Engineering Corporation.
As its known, Turkmenistan, which has huge reserves of natural gas, attaches great importance to the effective activities of foreign partners in this area. By being one of the large volume exporters of the energy resources, our country always acts with initiatives to create stable system of delivering energy resources to the world markets, to work out efficient ways and drafts of having mutual beneficial relations in the energy markets and providing reliable pipeline system to the continents. In this context, it should be noted that large Korean companies are interested in joint implementation of projects in the gas and gas chemical industries, as well as in participating in the construction of industrial facilities within the second stage of the city of Arkadag, which embodied the Smart City Concept and was built on the initiative of the National Leader of the Turkmen people, Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
From 2010 onwards, our cooperation in economic and industrial sectors has advanced substantially through the construction of energy plants and infrastructure by Korean companies in Turkmenistan.
Turkmenistan is steadily developing not only trade and economic, but also cultural and humanitarian ties with Korea, the great interest in the Turkmen culture and language, which contributes to the expansion of contacts in this direction.
In addition, the areas of education, science, learning the Korean language, healthcare and medicine are steadily developing.
In this regard, we have to note, that in September 2008, the department of the Korean language was opened at the Turkmen National Institute of World Languages named after Dovletmammet Azadi, and in September 2019, the Korean Educational Center named after King Sejong was opened on its basis.
Within the framework of cooperation in the field of science and education, the effectiveness of Turkmenistan's interaction with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) also should be traced.
The two countries have developed and maintained a close cooperation even under the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The Korean government has supported Turkmenistan with medication and sanitary equipment. Public-private cooperation were also carried out, with Korea’s Kyungbuk National University sharing its system of countering COVID-19 pandemic to the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan over a video conference.
Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea have significant potential for further development and deepening of cooperation that will be the key to strengthening further cooperation.
Lecturer of the Institute of International Relations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan