Korea, Belarus need visa waiver program: envoy

By KH디지털2
  • Published : Oct 16, 2015 - 10:41
  • Updated : Oct 16, 2015 - 10:41

South Korea and Belarus have the potential to expand bilateral cooperation in the information and technology industry as the Eastern European country has relatively cheap labor in the field, Seoul's top envoy here said Thursday.

Ambassador Yang Joong-mo emphasized the need for the two sides to sign a visa waiver agreement to boost their economic partnerships.

"A big stumbling block is inconveniences for people to get visas for trips to the other nation," he said in an interview at his office in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. "(We) are in discussions with the government of Belarus on the issue of forging a visa waiver accord. Belarus is showing a great interest."

Many neighbors of Belarus such as Russia, Poland, and the Baltic states have visa waiver programs with South Korea.

Seoul and Minsk established their diplomatic ties in 1992. Two-way trade volume is around US$100 million. Main trade items include automobile parts, electronic goods, machines, and fertilizer.

Korea trade-Investment Promotion Agency opened an office in Minsk last year.

Yang said there is little possibility of political unrest in Belarus in the near future.

He also dismissed a media report that North Korea and Belarus plan to launch direct flights starting in 2016. The North's foreign minister, Ri Su-yong, visited Belarus in March.

"The (incorrect) news reports seem to be based on a plan by a British travel agency, which has partnered with a Belarus airliner, to operate a travel program to North Korea using a Soviet-made Tu-154 jet," he said. "It's a temporary flight, far from the creation of regular flights." (Yonhap)