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Yoon greeted in Turkmenistan with veal, Korean songs

By Choi Jeong-yoon

Published : June 11, 2024 - 16:13

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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and his Turkmen counterpart, Serdab Berdymukhamedov, hold talks at the Oguzhan Presidential Palace in Ashgabat on Monday. Yoon came to Turkmenistan's capital earlier in the day for a two-day state visit. (Yonhap) South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and his Turkmen counterpart, Serdab Berdymukhamedov, hold talks at the Oguzhan Presidential Palace in Ashgabat on Monday. Yoon came to Turkmenistan's capital earlier in the day for a two-day state visit. (Yonhap)

SEOUL/ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- President Yoon Suk Yeol was greeted with "special and respectful courtesy" Monday in Turkmenistan on the first leg of his weeklong trip to Central Asia on a mission to expand cooperation in critical minerals and other key sectors.

Principal deputy national security adviser Kim Tae-hyo said at a press briefing that South Korea "was welcomed with the highest courtesy befitting a state guest," describing Turkmenistan's welcome.

Upon arrival in the capital city Ashgabat, Yoon was escorted by a mounted guard of honor to the presidential palace, where he saluted the state guard.

Turkmenistan prepared a Korean-style dinner for Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee. "In Turkmenistan, they serve veal to dignitaries when they come to visit," a presidential official said. Four dishes made with veal were served as the main course, with the main dishes including veal soup, steamed veal, veal and fries and veal pilaf.

An official explained that the soup served was similar to Korea's beef radish soup, while the steamed veal was similar to galbijjim, or braised short ribs, so it suited Korean tastes well.

The seven appetizers on the menu included salad dishes punchoja and badamjan. Punchoja is a variation of the traditional Korean dish of japchae.

During the dinner, a mix of traditional Turkmen instruments and stringed instruments were played. The music ranged from Korean folk song "Arirang" and "Doraji," OSTs from a Korean drama series dubbed "Queen for Seven Days" to 1980s South Korean pop songs such as those from Kim Soo-chan and Noh Sa-yeon, the official said.

Yoon's visit marks his first overseas trip since a state visit to the Netherlands in December last year and his first trip to Central Asia since taking office in May 2022.