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Participants in the event to celebrate Kuwait’s national day pose in a hotel in Seoul on Feb. 24. Photo by Yeo Hong-il/Korea News Plus

South Korean top minister celebrates 62nd National Day of Kuwait

During the past 20 years, Korean companies have played an important role in implementing several mega-projects in the fields of infrastructure, construction, and energy in Kuwait, worth billions of dollars.

Against this backdrop, South Korea’s Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Won Hee-ryong attended the diplomatic reception hosted by the Embassy of Kuwait to commemorate its National Day.

This year’s event took place late last week at a downtown hotel in Seoul to celebrate the 62nd Anniversary of the Kuwait National Day and the 32nd Anniversary of the Kuwait Liberation Day.

For Kuwait Amb. Deyab Farhan Al-Rashidi, the gathering was his diplomatic debut in Korea as he recently came here after serving as Kuwait General Consul during the last 10 years in the United Arab Emirates.

He emphasized the Korea-Kuwait strategic partnership as Kuwait’s top envoy who presented his credentials this January.

In that regard, his remarks in the opening speech were about stressing close relations and partnerships between the two countries. On top of Minister Won, many Koreans joined, including investment company CEOs, journalists, and representatives from non-government organizations.

“The cooperation between our two countries is not limited to the fields of infrastructure and construction. It has been expanded to different areas, including service and administration,” Amb. Al-Rashidi said.

“An example of which is the signing of an agreement on cooperation with Incheon International Airport Corporation to operate the new terminal in Kuwait International Airport starting from 2018, initiating cooperation in the service sector.”

Academic and scientific cooperation between the two countries is also getting stronger as there has been a noticeable growth in the number of Kuwaiti students participating in different training and fellowship programs offered by Korean universities, according to Al-Rashidi.

Furthermore, the number of Kuwaiti citizens who came to Korea for treatment has been increasing thanks to the efforts of Korean hospitals and medical centers.

However, the most ambitious project envisioned by the Kuwait government will be the Kuwait Vision 2035. In conjunction with such a vision, the Kuwait envoy said, “Kuwait looks forward to opening the doors for Korean companies to play an important role in executing the projects related to Kuwait Vision 2035.”

This vision aims for the transformation of Kuwait into a financial and trade hub regionally and internationally, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber AI-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait.

Al-Rashidi added that we hope for the continuation of all efforts related to diversifying cooperation between Kuwait and Korea by entering new fields of digital technology, Al, Cyber Security, Renewable Energy, Food, and Medicine Security, which is a major objective for both our countries.

As guest honor, Minister Won said that Korea had kept close cooperation and made remarkable achievements in construction, plants, and energy, as shown by the Jaber Causeway, the longest sea bridge in the Middle East and a symbol of Kuwait’s economic growth, balanced development, and dynamic future as a notable example.

Minister Won introduced that in 2021, Korea successfully completed the world’s largest Al-Zour LNG import terminal, despite all the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

In relation to “New Kuwait 2035 Vision,” Minister Won conveyed hopes, “It is our sincere hope that the Korean government and companies join the efforts of Kuwait in accomplishing “New Kuwait 2035.”

“With our hands together, we will be able to create magnificent successes again, like the Jaber Causeway.”

According to the Third secretary Mr. Ahmed Talal AlSabah, Embassy of Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government is trying to transform the oil-dependent economy into a business, cultural, and educational hub in the Middle East based on the “New Kuwait 2035” national development plan.

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Yeo studied German in Seoul. He has worked as a journalist for the past 40 years. He has mostly covered diplomacy, foreign schools, regional festivals, culture and other areas. He can be reached at hyeo7832@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.