Minister Falah Mustafa, the KRG’s Head of Foreign Relations, met with Mr Tae-In Chung, the Deputy Director General for the African and Middle Eastern Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of South Korea to discuss bilateral ties.
Both sides discussed areas of cooperation in political, economic, and cultural fields between Kurdistan Region and South Korea.
Mr Chung commended the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for the strong economic and political developments in the Kurdistan Region. “I see great potential for development and expect a bright future for the Kurdistan Region” he said. “There is a special relationship between the Kurdistan Region and South Korea and we value this relationship. This relationship is not exclusively between politicians of the two sides but it is a people-to-people relation as well,” he added.
Minister Mustafa thanked Mr Chung for his visit to Erbil and reiterated the KRG’s willingness to strengthen and deepen bilateral relations with South Korea. “We are proud to have South Korea as a partner and we are eager to learn from your country’s successful experience in further developing our economic system and building our institutions,” he said.
Furthermore, Minister Mustafa highlighted the importance of cultural and educational relations and said that he hoped to see these areas strengthened. Minister Mustafa also referred to the constructive work undertaken by the Korean military’s Zaytun Division, which was stationed in Kurdistan from 2004 to 2008, and by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). Both helped to establish cultural bonds between the people of Kurdistan Region and South Korea. Both sides also touched upon the current tension in Iraq and agreed on the need to resort to dialogue to resolve the tension.
Minister Mustafa said that the Kurdish leadership has played a crucial role in building the new Iraq but unfortunately the political process is not going on the right direction. “Conflict is not in the interest of either side, however the days of authoritarianism are over and we will not accept a return to dictatorship,” he added.
Mr Chung thanked Minister Mustafa for his support for the Korean Consulate General and Korean companies operating in the Kurdistan Region.
The meeting was also attended by Mr Lee Young Keun, the acting Consul General of South Korea.