(From left)Lee Myung-bak, Joseph Kabila
Leaders issue joint communique; Korean president to visit Ethiopia on Friday
President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday arrived in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for summit talks with his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila, marking the first visit by a Korean president to the central African country.
Lee made the trip in return for Kabila’s Seoul visit in March, last year. The two nations established diplomatic ties in 1963.
During summit talks with Kabila Thursday afternoon in Kinshasa time, Lee discussed the development of energy resources, infrastructure construction, development aid and agricultural cooperation.
The two leaders agreed to strengthen cooperation to build water purification plants, seaports and to develop mineral resources such as copper, and to make joint efforts to reconstruct the war-torn African nation by combining Korea’s technologies and Congo’s natural resources.
The two countries issued a joint communique on a number of cooperation areas including Congo’s national development plan and improvement of agricultural capabilities, resources development, cultural exchanges and sharing Korea’s economic development experience.
“Korea wishes to contribute towards DR Congo’s economic development by sharing our experiences,” Lee was quoted as saying by one of his aides during the summit talks.
“Korea will cooperate for DR Congo’s development by transferring agricultural technologies and advanced tax administration systems and also by assisting human resources development.”
Lee appreciated Kabila’s leadership in stabilizing the situation in eastern Congo and requested for continued support of South Korea in the global arena.
Noting the growing presence of Korea in the international community, Kabila replied that he will continue to support South Korea, according to Lee’s office.
After a brief visit to the Institut De Musees Nationaux in the Congolese capital, Lee attended a business forum to meet with business leaders from Korea and the central African country.
“The economic cooperation that Korea has in mind is aimed at our counterpart’s economic development and self-reliance,” Lee said at the forum.
“Korea will share our experiences and technologies with Congo to cooperate in the fields of agriculture and fisheries.”
In the evening, Lee was scheduled to meet with South Korean residents living in DR Congo and attend a state dinner hosted by Kabila, Cheong Wa Dae said.
DR Congo is the third largest country in Africa in area terms. The country once boasted a thriving mining sector with its rich mineral resources.
On Friday, Lee will fly to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, the last leg of Lee’s weeklong African tour. The president is scheduled to hold summit talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Friday evening to share views on Korea’s green growth strategy and development experience, and discuss ways to boost cooperation for development of natural resources.
On Saturday, Lee is slated to offer flowers at the monument for Korean War veterans in Ethiopia, give a speech at the Addis Ababa University, attend a Korea-Ethiopia business forum, visit local hospitals and have dinner with Korean volunteers working in them.
Lee will depart Addis Ababa Sunday evening after taking part in a volunteer program and attending a workshop on sharing development experience, Cheong Wa Dae said.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org