President Roh Moo-hyun and Slovakia`s Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda met yesterday at Cheong Wa Dae for the first summit between the two countries since they established bilateral ties.
"I deem it greatly significant for the prime minister to have visited here in the midst of rapid development in bilateral relations," Roh told Dzurinda at the meeting.
Dzurinda replied he was deeply impressed by Korea`s beauty and history and expected the visit to be a stepping stone to greater exchanges.
The two agreed to expand substantial and reciprocal relations through broder educational, cultural and tourism interchanges, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Man-soo said.
South Korea and Slovakia first formed diplomatic ties in 1993 and have since enjoyed a visible growth of economic exchanges. Slovakia is focused on attracting more investment from Korean businesses, especially in the automobile and electronics fields.
Dzurinda said he hoped Korean businesses will expand in Slovakia, and Roh in turn requested the Slovak government`s support to encourage bigger investments by, for example, simplifying the immigration process.
The two leaders agreed on the importance of democratic reform of the United Nations and agreed to cooperate closely on international issues such as the antiterrorism campaign and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Dzurinda invited Roh to visit Slovakia and the president said he would look into it.
After the summit, Roh and Dzurinda watched the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments. Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-shik and Slovak Ambassador to Korea Pavel Hrmo signed the agreement.
The Most Favored Nation agreement will bestow investment benefits on each country, while providing an efficient and sufficient level of compensation for any public investment by each country and preparing arbitration tools in case of any investment conflict. The treaty is to go into effect 90 days after necessary domestic procedures are completed.
Korea currently has investments worth approximately $900 million in Slovakia, where the most active Korean businesses include Kia Motors and Samsung Electronics Slovakia.
Roh arranged a dinner for Dzurinda, who visited research centers of Hyundai Motor Group on Thursday and leaves Seoul today.
By Lee Joo-hee