The Korea Herald


Cuba's high-level diplomat to make first-ever official visit to S. Korea

By Ji Da-gyum

Published : June 5, 2024 - 17:05

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The national flags of South Korea (left) and Cuba are embedded in an image of shaking hands. (123rf) The national flags of South Korea (left) and Cuba are embedded in an image of shaking hands. (123rf)

A high-level Cuban diplomat will make a first-ever official visit to South Korea to participate in an annual Seoul-hosted forum focused on enhancing cooperation between South Korea and Latin America, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul announced Wednesday.

Carlos Miguel Pereira, Director-General of the General Division of Bilateral Affairs at the Cuban Foreign Ministry, will deliver his presentation at the 2024 Korea-Latin America Future Cooperation Forum, scheduled for June 10 in Seoul.

Pereira is responsible for overseeing Cuba's bilateral ties around the world, except for the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

"This marks the first official visit by a high-level official from the Cuban Foreign Ministry," a Foreign Ministry official in Seoul confirmed during a closed-door briefing on condition of anonymity.

This trip also marks the first visit by a Cuban government delegation since Seoul and Havana officially established diplomatic ties on Feb. 14 this year, the official added.

Pereira will deliver his presentation during session 3 of the forum, which is focused on discussing strategies for creating jobs by enhancing substantial cooperation tailored for promising future industries and expanding cooperation in related areas like vocational training.

Another unnamed official said, "The attendance was naturally arranged to discuss potential avenues for bilateral cooperation and collaboration in developmental projects related to Latin America."

"The first visit by the Cuban government delegation since the establishment of bilateral relations on Feb. 14 holds great significance, as it will contribute to further solidifying bilateral ties," the official said.

The participation of the Cuban delegation in the forum will also "strengthen South Korea’s diplomatic efforts targeting Latin America," the official added.

When questioned about the possibility of separate meetings between the Cuban diplomat and South Korean officials, the official mentioned that Seoul and Havana are currently "in the coordination phase," but refrained from sharing further details.

On the topic of how Seoul and Havana can pursue economic cooperation under the framework of US sanctions, the first unnamed official emphasized the importance of "exploring long-term perspectives."

"Given the many restrictive conditions, I think both countries need to consider how they can cooperate within these constraints," the first official said, adding that "Cuba has a significant interest in economic cooperation" with South Korea.

In addition to Cuba, ministers and vice-ministers from five Latin American countries —Chile, Dominica, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru — will also be in attendance at the June 10 forum, which the South Korean Foreign Ministry has hosted annually since 2008.