The Azerbaijani Embassy marked the silver jubilee of relations with Korea last week that have expanded comprehensively over the last 25 years, with strides made in infrastructure, energy, construction, transport and telecommunications.
Korea’s former acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn wrote a congratulatory letter to his Azeri counterpart on the occasion, conveying Seoul’s desire to deepen cooperation in energy infrastructure, transportation and telecommunications, including the construction of petrochemical complexes, according to the diplomatic mission.
“Azerbaijan regards Korea as a priority country in terms of economic and trade cooperation,” said Azeri Ambassador to Korea Ramzi Teymurov at a reception on Wednesday. “Exchanges are growing rapidly in culture, education, health care and humanitarian projects. We have organized film festivals, joint research on history and literature and tourism programs.”
Azeri Ambassador to Korea Ramzi Teymurov (right) and Korea’s Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Lee In-ho (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
The Caucasus country and Korea established diplomatic relations March 23, 1992. Over the next 25 years, the two nations have bolstered their ties in all areas, exchanging head of state visits in 2006 and 2007 with late President Roh Moo-hyun and current President Ilham Aliyev. Interparliamentary diplomacy serves as another key channel of bilateral communication, according to the diplomat.
Following independence from the Soviet Union in October, 1991, Azerbaijan has progressed on the international theater by stabilizing its politics under a presidential system, integrating its economy into the world, asserting a sovereign foreign policy and embracing a multicultural society, Teymurov highlighted.
On the economic front, dependence on oil and gas has decreased and reforms have been carried out for a more diversified economy. More than 40 Korean companies operate in Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan has shown a remarkable development based on its gas and oil sectors, achieving a 10-fold growth in GDP in 10 years,” said Korea’s Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Lee In-ho in a speech.
Azeri Ambassador to Korea Ramzi Teymurov (center) poses with foreign ambassadors (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
“Azerbaijan has emerged as a regional hub of energy and logistics on the Caspian Sea connecting Europe and Asia. I firmly believe that the Azerbaijan government’s reform-minded leadership will bring success stories to the country in the years to come.”
With a corridor connecting the Caspian, Black and Mediterranean seas, Azerbaijan is an indispensable provider of energy security and transport routes across the Caucasus region and Europe, the ambassador said, adding the East-West (connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey) and North-South (linking Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Pakistan and India) corridors are currently in the works.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project linking Europe and Asia through Azerbaijan will facilitate transport significantly, according to the envoy.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)