Baku, January 15 AZERTAC
In an exclusive interview with AZERTAC, incoming Korean Ambassador Kim Chang-gyu has highlighted the relations between the two countries, and shared his views about the cooperation between Azerbaijani and Korean media. The following is the text of the interview:
- This year marks 24 years since Azerbaijan and the Republic of Korea established diplomatic ties. How would you rate the current level of relations between the two countries?
- I highly appreciate our diplomatic achievements, which the two governments have made over last 24 years since we established our diplomatic relations. I appreciate the fact that our relations enjoy a very high standard. High-level reciprocal visits play a vital role in developing the bilateral ties. About twenty Korean companies are doing their business here. In general, about four thousand people from Azerbaijan and Korea on average exchange their business on a yearly basis.
- Does the level of bilateral trade correspond to economic growth rate in both countries?
- In 2014, our trade turnover stood at 260 million US dollars. But, I think, that is not enough. We must go on, increase our efforts to promote trade activities between the two countries because we have huge potential for economic cooperation, because the Korean economy has been highly advanced and widely diversified. Your economy has recently enjoyed rapid development too. And also our peoples` intelligence level is very high. So we will enjoy very high and rapid economic development. Our economic potential for cooperation is very high. We must do our best to fully exploit our hidden and unused potential for cooperation.
- What lies at the heart of success of the Korean economy?
- Since 1945 when Korea was liberated from economic occupation our government has been executing the national development plan. They consecutively focus on their strategic economic plans. I wish to stress the importance of human resources, which was highly cultivated by effective education. Our mind, our government, our people were open and very active to use foreign markets. We focus on export-oriented economy and also human base. Main reason of success of the Korean economy was human resources. The other was effective and strategic governance, and active and export-oriented mind.
- Favorable business environment in Azerbaijan attracts Korean companies to invest in the country. What are possible fields to be invested by Korean companies?
- I highly appreciate the efforts of the government to reform the economic systems focusing on taxation, custom clearance and also many other economic areas. I am sure that the efforts taken by your government in recent years will contribute to attracting more Korean companies here because facilitation of business of Korean companies is much helpful for them in terms of taxation and custom clearance and also licensing. I think we have very prospective cooperation possibilities, especially in farming and medical service, transportation and tourism. And, of course, we also have high cooperation possibilities in ICT and manufacture. So I would do my best to promote cooperation in investment through involving Korean companies here to contribute to increasing our trade, communication and exchange of people. The Korean ICT industry is the most advanced in the world. Many international organizations highly praise the advancement of the Korean industry, so it is possible for the two countries to help each other. Azerbaijan`s ICT industry is also rapidly developing.
- What is the Embassy doing to promote Korea in Azerbaijan and strengthen cultural and humanitarian relations?
- I would like to point out that Azerbaijani and Korean nations share the same cultural background. So my diplomacy here focuses on cultural cooperation. Last year we held many cultural performances, musical, cinema, and art performances. But I think it is not enough. We try to double or even triple our cultural exchange. I would like to stress the importance of people exchange, especially young generation. Student exchange is extremely important. I will try to build bridges between schools and colleges, universities of the two countries. I wish to stress again that human resources are very crucial for reaching the progress in our society, even in the international community. We must try to increase communication exchange of people.
- What economic effect will the launch of direct flight between Baku and Seoul have?
- Unfortunately we do not have a direct flight between Baku and Seoul. So I am very interested in opening a flight between our two cities. So an air flight, especially a direct one is the most important, basic element for promoting bilateral relations of the two countries. So I am discussing with my counterparts in the Azerbaijani government the issue of opening the flight. However, at the moment I cannot say that we will have it. But I will do my best in the near future.
- What is the position of Korea on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
- We support the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group to solve the dispute. But it must be done in a more active and concerted manner. The Korean government supports your government`s efforts to resolve the issue peacefully in the quickest possible time. I share the sympathy with IDPs. During my stay here, I will do my best to support their living.
- What can you say of cooperation between media outlets of the two countries?
- I wish more close cooperation between AZERTAC and Yonhap news agency. When I met your Director General we discussed this issue very broadly. I fully agree with his suggestion to strengthen the cooperation between AZERTAC and Korean Yonhap News because they are major agencies. So it is very important to increase the cooperation between the two news agencies. I will do my best to fully support AZERTAC’s efforts to strengthen its cooperation with Yonhap News. I think that communication of people, flow of information is important in terms of close cooperation between the two countries.