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South Korea President Park Geun-hye here

South Korean President Park Guen-Hye was received by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa,
South Korean President Park Geun-hye was received on Saturday by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa. PHOTO PPU

South Korean President Park Geun-hye is in Uganda for a three day state visit. She is accompanied by a huge business delegation with representatives of at least 100 Korean companies.

She is the first leader of South Korea to visit Uganda. South Korea is home to several global companies including ‪Samsung‬, ‪Hyundai‬, ‪‎Posco‬, ‪‎KIA‬.

President Yoweri ‪‎Museveni‬ will hold bilateral talks with Park Geun-hye that officials believe, will lead to boosting of relations between ‪Uganda‬ and Korea.

In a statement (below) soon after her arrival on Saturday, Park Geun-hye described Uganda as a country of “possibilities” and “hope”.

By President Park Geun-hye
President  of  South  Korea

It is a great pleasure for me to visit Uganda, the “Pearl of Africa.” It is all the more meaningful because this will be the first visit by a president of the Republic of Korea since our two countries established diplomatic ties in 1963.

Uganda is a country of “possibilities” and “hope” due to its unlimited potential for growth, which springs from its abundant natural resources, political stability and a young population.

As President of the Republic of Korea, I hope my visit will be an important milestone in opening a new chapter of co-operation with Uganda as it marches on the path toward dynamic development.

Through the guidance of our leaders and the aspiration of our people, Korea and Uganda have both overcome past colonial rule and war and are now pursuing a common path toward national development and happiness for the people.

After officially establishing ties, our two countries have steadily advanced bilateral relations, but more recently since my inauguration, we have grown particularly close as can be underscored by the fact that this will be my third summit meeting with President Museveni.

Seizing this opportunity, my Administration and I will work to further advance our bilateral relationship on the basis of a mutually beneficial partnership in which we can learn and grow together.

Above all, I intend to further reinforce mutually beneficial economic co-operation between our two nations. As the Ugandan Government has highlighted the importance of building infrastructure in its Second National Development Plan, I place high hopes on bilateral co-operation in this field. Based on its own experience, the Korean Government is well aware that bold investments in infrastructure construction provide a solid foundation for strengthening economic fundamentals.

Also, Korean companies have diverse experiences in infrastructure construction as well as advanced technological expertise. I hope the know-how Korea has accumulated so far will be able to contribute to economic development in Uganda.

Along with co-operation in traditional industries, co-operation in new industries, such as information and communications technology (ICT), including the e-government system, can also bring about vast benefits to both nations. We will continue to strengthen co-operation in these areas as well.

Second, Korea will further enhance development co-operation with Uganda. I believe my country’s experiences will be of help to Uganda, which has strong aspirations for progress. We will discuss together the challenges Uganda will likely face in the course of making progress and provide the necessary co-operation when needed.

The Saemaul Undong (the new community movement), which Korea and Uganda have pursued together, constitutes a shining example of development co-operation. Korea is sharing with many African countries its know-how in national development achieved through the Saemaul Undong. Among them, Uganda has achieved the most, as evidenced by the increase in income through the operation of Saemaul Undong pilot villages.

During my visit, the National Farmer’s Leadership Centre will open in Uganda for the first time in Africa. This centre is expected to serve as a pivotal institution in providing tailored assistance for the new community movement. Korea will provide all possible support to make sure that the Saemaul Undong takes firm root in Uganda, thereby contributing to the development of rural communities.

On top of this, a new form of mobile, comprehensive development co-operation project called “Korea Aid” that combines healthcare, culture and food, will be launched. Specially designed vehicles will travel in groups to local communities to provide medical service.


New chief vows to deliver Winter Games on schedule

The new head of South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics has promised to deliver the Games on schedule and secure 90 percent of sponsorship this year despite a bumpy build-up so far.

“We have financial challenges and the schedule is tight, however we shall be able to overcome this,” former trade minister Lee Hee-Beom told reporters in Seoul.

It was Lee’s first press conference since he was appointed head of the Pyeongchang organising committee last week following the sudden departure of his predecessor, tycoon Cho Yang-Ho, less than two years before the Games begin.

Cho, who stepped down to focus on his ailing shipping business, had been widely credited with rescuing a preparatory process that was mired in construction delays and funding shortfalls.

Lee, 67, said he was confident the venues would be completed on time and on budget.

“Of course we are not totally satisfied with the progress, but I don’t think there is anything to be disappointed about either,” he said.

“By the end of this year we will be able to meet the target of achieving 90 percent of our targeted sponsorship revenue,” he added.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) picked Pyeongchang as the host in 2011, favouring it over Munich in Germany and the French Alpine town of Annecy.

The first test events held in February were largely successful, although IOC Co-ordination Commission chair Gunilla Lindberg said much remained to be done ahead of the next round in December.

“It’s a lot of work… but we don’t have any fears from the IOC side,” Lindberg said at the joint press conference.

“Our time together leaves me confident that Mr. Lee understands what needs to be done in this critical operational phase,” she added.

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