Khartoum 16, Oct, 2017 (SUNA)- Diplomatic relations between Sudan and south Korea began since 1977 .The two countries established consular relations in 1976, followed by the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1977. Since then the two countries have promoted the friendship and pursued mutual interest and cooperation at bilateral or multilateral relations such as the Non-Aligned Movement and other international organizations. On celebration of 40 teens anniversary of relations between two countries Sudan ,Korean ambassador to Sudan Lee ki-Seog, who spoke in his first interview to Sudan news Agency on aspects of bilateral relations in frame of new events in international and Sudanese political arenas:-
** His Excellency ambassador, Let us begin from latest news, how do you read decision of revocation of American sanctions imposed on Sudan since two decades ago?
*We welcomes the recent decision by the U.S. Government to permanently revoke the economic sanctions on Sudan, and we also congratulates the people of Sudan and their Government. The Patience and constructive dialogues between the governments of Sudan and the U.S. over the course of the 16 months contributed not only to reducing military conflicts in certain areas in Sudan, improving humanitarian access to the vulnerable, but also the regional stability and the international community's efforts in countering the threat of terrorism. We appreciate the efforts of the Government of Sudan that it has demonstrated in these areas. And, the decision is all the more meaningful in that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between Korea and Sudan. We sincerely hope that our two countries' cooperation and friendly relations further develop in all areas, including the economic and commercial fields on the occasion of this decision.
**What about recent meeting with Minister of International Cooperation?
*It was a very fruitful and constructive one. The Korean government has a keen interest in the livelihood of Sudanese people and sustainable growth of the Sudanese economy, so during this meeting l has a great conversation with H.E. the Minister of International Cooperation to find ways for our two governments to more efficiently cooperate to this end.
**As it well known, most of diplomatic activities and signing agreement are done within ministerial committees meeting … does there coming meeting between two countries?
*yes it was noted recent , the develop in relations via high level exchange . As last year the Sudanese foreign Affairs minister Prof. Gondor had visited Seoul and held ministerial meeting with his Korean counterpart .Also the Korean deputy minister for economy affairs had visited Sudan this year to participate in high level consultation with Sudanese side .in addition state minister of the Sudan ministry of foreign affaires Hamid Momtaz visited Korea in an offical invitation, where he met many important people in Korea and conducted an interview with the biggest broadcast organization in Korea.
**How could the bilateral relations promote on the occasion
40th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations?
*I think we should start by having more frequent high-level exchanges, so that we can deepen the mutual understanding and explore potential areas of cooperation. In a longer term, we should increase the volume of trade and investment as it was in the 1970s. to make our bilateral relations a more favorable environment for bilateral corporation between Korea and Sudan.
**After revocation of economic sanctions, wat about opportunities of investment between Sudan and Korea in the future?
*With its significant size and potential, I think the Sudanese market will attract many Korea businesses when the actual impact of the lifting of the sanctions begins to materialize. Our embassy will also make our utmost efforts to help Korean companies interested in investing in Sudan. But at the same time, in order for such efforts to yield tangible fruits, the business environment in Sudan also needs to be improved in various ways. So I expect the Sudanese government will take appropriate steps to address it.
** Sudan is a gate for African continent, how is the Trade balance between two countries?
*. In 2016, the Korean export to Sudan marked 150 million dollars, whereas the Sudanese export to Korea remained only 10 million dollars. So we must increase trade volume.
** what are the main products from Korean to Sudan ?
*I think , infrastructures equipment and spare parts of automobiles products and electric tools and in return we exported some agricultural products as Sesame and Gum Arabic.
** in your opinion what are reason of this weakness?
*I think banking transaction was the fundamental impediment but now after the economic sanction revocation Sudan will be attractive to many international and Korean big companies.
** Korea achieved great progress in cars industries, shall famous Korean companies will retune to Sudanese markets again?
*As an ambassador, I also sincerely hope that other big businesses also invest in Sudan, just like "Daewoo" did in the past. I think it will be helpful if we can make more successful stories of Korean companies who comes to Sudan in the earlier stages after the lifting of sanctions. For this, as I mentioned, the embassy will work together with the Sudanese government to create a more business friendly environment.
** What about supporting Sudan in the field of training and building capacities of national cadres in different fields?
* Korea has been making tireless efforts to improve the capacity of the public sector and young people of Sudan. Korea has built a vocational training center in Khartoum in 1996, and the center has been operating successfully for the last two decades. And it also built a Al-Bashir agricultural vocational training center in WadMedani, which is expected to inaugurate this year, to foster leading experts in the agricultural sector. In addition, dozens of Sudanese public officials and students are provided with training or scholarship opportunities in Korea every year.
** Cultural and sport relations are the link between peoples ... are there co-operation between the two countries to reflect the culture of both states?
Although the distance between the two countries limits some frequent exchanges between the two, the two governments are making every effort to create as many opportunities as possible. Last year October, our embassy invited a Korean traditional performance group for a concert at the national theater in Omdurman, and this year, a Sudanese Band, called Balimbo, visited Korea to demonstrate Sudanese folk music to Korean audiences. And next November 2nd, another big Korean group will visit Khartoum to celebrate the 40th anniversary. of bilateral relations between Korea and Sudan.
**Korea reached high levels in field of communication technology (Samsung and LG companies) does their experiences in Sudan will open doors for other Korean companies?
*I think it is possible. Samsung and LG are big names in everywhere, but Korea is a manufacturing powerhouse we has many medium and small-sized companies with advanced technology. All of these companies have the potential to make great success as long as they carefully assess the opportunities in Sudanese market. The embassy is also making efforts to share the experiences in the Sudanese market with Korean businesses.
** popular diplomacy is method communication between states ... how are efforts in this regard?
*The embassy opened the "Korea Center" in 2015 in Al Azhari University in Bahri, as the platform for promoting the Korean culture. It is a place where you can experience various aspects of Korean culture by assessing publications or video material on Korean as well as trying on traditional costumes and playing musical instruments. On monthly basic, the embassy also gives presentation and lecture on Korean culture and society. As an ambassador, I am also trying to have as many media contacts as possible to bring Korea closer to Sudanese people, and Sudan to Korean people. I want to introduce Korea for as many Ordinary people as possible.
** in field of education …Does the embassy has provide chance of high degree scholarship for Sudanese students?
*yes we provide every year 5 full scholarship for Sudanese students , most of them are in Engineering fields.
** Do you have did you had previous stereotype in your mind and what is your impression on the Sudan after year and half the date your coming?
*it is my first time to be in Sudan . In fact the are some differences. The society is stable and people are very friendly comparing with other nationalities. This country is comfortable special when you see to the Nile river image.
** Do you visited another places out-side Khartoum?
*Yes I visited historical archeological regions that include Mar wee premeds and Al- mosawart. Kssla and AL-Jzeera states.