Uganda pledges closer ties as South Korea celebrates 75th armed forces day

The deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa has pledged closer ties between Uganda and South Korea as the latter celebrated her 75th armed forces day and the national day held at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala.

“For over 53 years, Uganda and Korea have enjoyed excellent and mutually beneficial political, economic and historical relations based on the principles of mutual respect, democracy and shared interests. Uganda looks forward to the second political consultative meeting between our two countries, which will give us a platform to further strengthen our bilateral relations,” Tayebwa said.

“Uganda will continue to work closely with the Republic of Korea, bilaterally and in multilateral fora, on regional and international issues of interest and concern.”

The deputy Speaker said for many  years, Korea has been a great partner for not only Uganda but Africa at large.

He commended the Republic of Korea for supporting peace in Africa through its participation in peace keeping operations in South Sudan and the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

“In South Sudan, Korean Corps of Engineers participated in infrastructural improvements in the areas of Bor, Jonglei Province which will have a significant impact on South Sudan’s Economy. Uganda believes that such international support to regional mechanisms can provide useful and effective tools for maintaining peace and security.”

He added, “In this regard, Uganda is pleased with the recent election of the Republic of Korea for a two-year term, 2024-2025, as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We hope for closer collaboration during this period on the African peace and security matters on the council’s agenda, especially the Great-lakes region and the Horn of Africa.”

Ties with Uganda

Tayebwa hailed the close ties between South Korea and Uganda that he said have blossomed over the years.

“The Republic of Korea has been a strategic partner for Uganda in socio-economic development notably, increasing sustainable production, productivity and value addition in key growth opportunities, and enhancing human capital development, which directly correspond to the country’s national development goals.”

He mentioned the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)which has impacted various sectors in the country but also mentioned several projects like the fruit processing factory in Soroti which is addressing value addition, the $864million partnership between Korea Project on International Agriculture (KOPIA) and  Uganda Center and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) to support Elgon farmers to boost the growing of high-yield animal pastures and the  collaboration with National Farmers Leadership Institute that he said have benefited the country.

“I take this opportunity to invite Korean companies and individuals to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in Uganda and invest especially in Uganda’s strategic sectors of agriculture and agro-processing, oil and gas, minerals, ICT, human resource development, tourism and infrastructure development.”

Armed forces day

The armed forces day in South Korea is an annual event celebrated on October,1  to commemorate the service of men and women in the Republic of Korea armed forces.

It is the day that South Korean forces broke through the 38th parallel in 1950 during the Korean War.

The deputy Speaker of Parliament congratulated South Korean upon celebrating the 75th armed forces day .

Minister Okello Oryem, South Korean Ambassador and the deputy speaker share a light moment on Tuesday.

He also hailed the transformation that South Korea has gone through the years .

“Since its founding, the Republic of Korea has overcome many socio-economic and political challenges, and ultimately become a successful global model for development. This great transformation has enabled Korea to become one of the largest economies in the world, ranked by multiple sources as the 13th largest economy by GDP in 2022,” Tayebwa said.

The South Korean ambassador to Uganda, Park Sung-soo said the armed forces day helps  raise the morale of their army and remember their soldiers who sacrificed themselves for the peace and prosperity of South Korea.

He said diplomatic relations between Uganda and South Korea have blossomed for the last 60 years and are not about to end.

“This year we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Uganda. It is indeed an honour for me to serve as ambassador at this crucial moment here in Uganda. Looking back over the past 60 years, I think our two countries have managed to maintain good relations. There were mutual visits of both presidents in 2013 and 2016 respectively. We have had moderate trade and investment relations and relatively big-sized development cooperation in place,” Amb. Sung-soo said.

He however noted that there is much room for improvement, cooperation and collaboration between the two countries.

“More especially, the level of economic cooperation is not yet sufficient. Currently, the volume of trade stands below 50 million dollars and the number of goods traded is limited. Korea’s investment in Uganda stood at 10 million dollars in 2022. Despite Uganda’s natural tourist resources, beautifully referred to as the Pearl of Africa, there are only a small number of Korean tourists.”

He said now is the time for both countries to refresh minds and contemplate on how to shape the future together.

“Korea and Uganda must work toward a more long-term, sustainable and mutually beneficial economic relationship. It means we have to shift our focus from unilateral development relations to two-way economic relations such as trade and investment adding values to each other’s products and material.”

The function was attended by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, State Minister for Defence, Oboth Oboth, Maj Gen George Igumba, the Commandant, Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka and NEC Managing Director, Gen James Mugira among others.

 

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