SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) — South Korea and Swaziland agreed to expand ties in trade and investment, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, as Asia’s fourth-largest economy pushes to tap deeper into resource-rich Africa.
On Tuesday, Mgwagwa Gamedze, Swaziland Foreign Minister met with his S. Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se, to discuss a wide range of issues, including ways to bolster economic and development ties and strengthen cooperation on the global stage, the ministry said in a press release.
Gamedze, who was in South Korea on a three-day visit as a special envoy of King Mswati III, expressed satisfaction at the way their countries have developed friendly ties since establishing diplomatic relations in 1968, saying they have drawn closer this year as a result of visits by various high-level Swazi officials to Seoul.
“The two ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation to increase bilateral trade and investment, and continue to expand assistance and cooperation in areas where South Korea has strengths, such as education, cutting-edge technology and IT,” the ministry said.
Yun noted that the current administration of President Park Geun-hye has sought to strengthen diplomacy with Africa since its launch in 2013 and worked to build a mutually beneficial partnership with the continent with the help of the private sector and the National Assembly.
Last year, two-way trade reached US$20.23 million, with South Korea exporting $3.16 million worth of plastic bottles and capacitors to Swaziland and importing $17.07 million worth of gold and switchboards from the African nation.
Gamedze also expressed “deep concern” over North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests, pledging full support for the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions on Pyongyang.
“In the current situation, sanctions are the only means to stop North Korea’s production of nuclear weapons, ease regional tensions, and establish peace and stability,” the ministry quoted him as saying.
Yun thanked Swaziland for its support for the U.N. sanctions resolution, saying it will send a strong message to Pyongyang to not carry out additional provocations.
The meeting came a day after Yun told South Korean ambassadors during an annual gathering here that this year will be the “year of Africa” for South Korean diplomacy. Last year the country’s diplomatic focus was on the Middle East and Latin America.