PM Marape meets Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol

By: PNG Business News June 05, 2023

Photo: Prime Minister Hon. James Marape meeting with President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol, in Seoul, South Korea.

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape had fruitful discussions with the President of the Republic of Korea, His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol, on the margins of the inaugural Korea-Pacific Islands Summit (Monday, May 29, 2023) in Seoul.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister for International Trade and Investment Hon. Richard Maru, Vice-Minister for Finance and Implementation Hon. John Boito and Vice-Minister for Treasury Hon. Solen Loifa.

Present at the meeting on the Korean side with President Yoon were Prime Minister H.E.Han Duck-soo and Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Park Jin.

At the commencement of the bilateral meeting, PM Marape personally gave recognition to Korea as one of Papua New Guinea’s biggest trading partners.

He said Korea and PNG had had a healthy bilateral relation since 1976 which should be ramped up going into the future.

“More importantly, our focus is on ramping up our trade relations with Korea,” PM Marape said.

“We invited them to bring in their business expertise, especially in the space of manufacturing, into our country’s focus of moving into downstream processing, in our Special Economic Zones.”

He said current volume of trade between both countries stood at US$1.8 billion.

PM Marape said the current balance of trade was in PNG’s favor. He encouraged Korea to invest more in PNG and for them to buy more of the country’s products as it moved from exporting raw materials to exporting finished products.

He also indicated to President Yoon that PNG today signed visa waiver arrangement for diplomats and officials with Minister Park at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

PM Marape went on to make a commitment of looking into visa-on-arrival arrangements for both countries.

“Korea is not a lightweight and I commend them for their success story, from being a country known for poverty, to being a rising economic powerhouse in the world,” he said.

“I have indicated to H.E Yoon Suk Yeol that Papua New Guinea will give support to Korea to host the 2030 World Trade Exposition in Busan.

“We also commended Korea’s sensitivity to rising sea levels and climate change, and their commitment to using technology and innovation as a means to address the protection of seas and environment.

“This complements Papua New Guinea’s own focus on using technology for land reclamation and protecting our small island communities and small island states.”

The Prime Minister made a special commendation of the current South Korean leadership for complementing South Pacific Island countries’ views that rising sea levels were caused by climate change.

PM Marape said in that respect, with Korea’s focus on the Pacific, they must work with the Pacific Island Forum

He said PNG must not be viewed as a small island state because its land mass and population were bigger than all other island states.

“Whilst we are a Pacific Island country, we are not a small Island state but a big island nation,” PM Marape said.

He encouraged the Korean President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to relate with PNG through a separate, specific bilateral framework that would embrace government-to-government, people-t- people and business-to-business relations going into the future.

PM Marape also asked the President to look at reopening the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)Office in Port Moresby. President Yoon said he would get his officials to look into that.

Other matters discussed were the Korean Exim Bank’s commitment to fund the Wewak and Vanimo wharves and soft-lending facilities that PNG could access.

PM Marape extended an official invitation for to President Yoon to visit PNG at a convenient time.

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