The leaders of South Korea and Uzbekistan agreed Friday to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a special strategic partnership, also vowing efforts to further expand their economic cooperation.
In a summit held in Tashkent, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted that their countries' cooperation has greatly contributed to expanding cooperation between South Korea and the Central Asian region.
"President Moon and President Mirziyoyev expressed satisfaction that the countries have developed their friendly cooperation in various areas based on their trust since establishing diplomatic ties in 1992, and agreed to upgrade the countries' relationship to a special strategic partnership on the occasion of their summit,"
Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.
The countries had upgraded their diplomatic relationship to a strategic partnership in 2006.
In a joint press conference held after their summit, Moon said the countries will work to boost their people-to-people exchanges while also developing joint business opportunities.
"Today's summit will be a new milestone that will guide the joint development of the countries," Moon told the press conference.
Friday's meeting between Moon and Mirziyoyev marked the second of its kind since Moon took office in May 2017. The two first met in November 2017 when the Uzbek leader made a state visit to Seoul.
The South Korean president arrived here Thursday on a four-day state visit that will also take him to Samarkand, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Uzbekistan and Central Asia.
The leaders discussed ways to boost the countries' economic cooperation.
"The two leaders noted that the joint project in the energy plant sector that they have successfully been pushing for has greatly contributed to the development of the countries' mutually beneficial relationship. They agreed to work closely together to expand the horizon of cooperation to high value-added industries, including health and medical care, science technology and public administration," Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon sought support for his country's efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"(We) have agreed to work closely together for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Central Asia and Eurasia," Moon told the joint press conference.
"President Mirziyoyev is actively supporting our efforts toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.
Also, (he) is spearheading regional integration and cooperation in Central Asia. I express my support for his unrelenting efforts toward peace," he added.
Prior to the joint press conference, the leaders were joined by a group of officials from both sides in a signing ceremony at which the countries inked eight new memorandums of understanding, including an agreement on a joint feasibility study for a bilateral free trade agreement.
Moon is currently on a three-nation tour that earlier took him to Turkmenistan on a three-day state visit.
He will wrap up his visit here Sunday, following a two-day visit to Samarkand. His eight-day tour will end next week in Kazakhstan. (Yonhap)