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Colombian president hopes to boost economic ties with Korea

 
Colombian President Ivan Duque addresses a press conference in Central Seoul Thursday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)
Colombian President Ivan Duque addresses a press conference in Central Seoul Thursday. (Sanjay Kumar/The Korea Herald)

Colombian President Ivan Duque on Thursday expressed hopes of expanded economic ties with Korea, touting the brotherhood between the two nations forged during Colombia’s participation in the 1950-53 Korean War.

“More than 5,000 Colombians came into this nation to defend liberty and democracy. More than 230 were killed. Four hundred were injured. And they gave the best of their lives to protect this nation. So, there is a brotherhood that has existed since then,” the president said at a press conference during his three-day state visit on Aug. 24-26.

“Next year would be the 70th anniversary of the bilateral relationship. Colombia was a partner of war but today is a partner in GDP, sustainability, digital economy, and shares common purposes of free market economy, democracy and institutional stability.”

The president, who looked around Seoul’s startup districts earlier in the day, also suggested seeking synergy between startups and tech companies in the two nations, citing the huge size of Korea’s creative industry, which makes up almost 4 percent of its GDP.

“Korea will have a No. 1 partner in creative Industry in Latin America,” Duque said.

Following his summit with President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday, the two nations signed six memorandums of understanding to align in security and defense, creative industries, health care policies, cultural interaction, trade, and on repatriating the remains of soldiers who died in the Korean War.

Citing SK Bioscience’s phase three trial of its own COVID-19 vaccine, the president hinted that the bilateral partnership could be extended to vaccines once the vaccine production starts for Latin American or other global markets.

Duque said that SK biotech had mentioned the possibility of advancing a memorandum of understanding on vaccines once they start production for Latin American and other markets.

President Duque hold meetings with the Global Climate Fund and the International Sustainable Growth Institute in Korea.

He said that when his administration began, just 0.2 percent of Colombia’s energy matrix came from renewable energy but it would reach 14 percent by the end of his term.

“Colombia is now the leader of energy transition in Latin America,” he added.

“Colombia has energy storage and is now launching the road to hydrogen, we have 180 million trees to be planted before the end of my term, we have a zero deforestation goal of 2030 which is also linked to the idea of reducing 51 percent of CO2 emissions by 2030 and becoming a carbon neutral country by 2050,” the president highlighted.

Duque said that the clean mobility initiatives show Colombia believes in the concept of sustainability and climate change mitigation, and that Colombia is the best partner for Korea in Latin America.

Duque encouraged Korean industries to invest in clean energy in Colombia and mentioned upcoming bidding for 400,000 megawatts of renewable energy and hydrogen economy projects in the next two months.

“Colombia wants investors from Asia, from Korea and also from the rest of the world,” Duque said.


By Sanjay Kumar (sanjaykumar@heraldcorp.com)
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