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S. Korea, U.S. sign development accord

WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) ― In what is billed as another “milestone” initiative, South Korea and the United States on Friday signed an agreement to work together for the development of impoverished nations, particularly in central Africa.

Under the deal signed here by South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the allies will hold annual consultations on policies and projects related to official development assistance.

They have decided to place a priority on supporting maternal and children’s health in sub-Saharan African nations, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said.

Seoul and Washington plan to discuss details in a working group led by the Korea International Cooperation Agency and the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to a press statement.

Clinton said the agreement reflects an expanding partnership between the allies in international affairs.

“Our partnership truly has gone global,” Clinton told reporters after a brief signing ceremony after talks with Kim. “As we have just witnessed, the United States and Korea are partners in development as well.”

She said he was impressed by South Korea’s fast economic growth and democracy after the 1950-53 war with North Korea.

“It has been inspiring to watch Korea’s rise within my own lifetime,” Clinton said.

“This was a poor war-torn country that has risen to become the world’s 12th largest economy and a very vibrant and effective democracy,” she added. “Korea approaches development with a unique credibility as one of the great success stories in the 20th century.” In an earlier statement, meanwhile, the State Department said the agreement will “enhance policy coordination between both sides to promote the impact and efficiency in aid delivery within mutually agreed priority areas such as global hunger and food security, maternal and children’s health, and climate change.”

It described the move as “another milestone of the U.S.-ROK global partnership and recognizes the ROK’s growing emergence as a donor country.” ROK stands for South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

South Korea, once a recipient of international aid, joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee, a club of donor countries, in 2009. As part of its Global Korea campaign, Seoul plans to triple its official development assistance budget by 2015.
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