“The economies of Kazakhstan and Korea are complementary. Kazakhstan has a rich resource base and a large territory and Korea has high technologies,” said Ambassador Bakyt Dyussenbayev of Kazakhstan in Seoul at an exclusive interview with The Korea Post media on Feb. 7, 2022.
At the interview at the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Seoul with The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985, Ambassador Dyussenbayev said, “I think that the relations of the two counties have very good prospects. Politically, we have no unresolved issues or questions.
In addition, we should not forget such a factor as the large Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan, which is an important factor in rapprochement.” Ambassador Dyussenbayev also said that another important element is the great positive image that South Korea has in Kazakhstan. The following are excerpts from the interview with Ambassador Dyussenbayev.
Question: Please introduce Your Excellency’s impression of the bilateral relations and cooperation on the meaningful occasion of the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Please also introduce the latest developments in your esteemed country.
"The current interaction of Kazakhstan with the Republic of Korea is characterized by high dynamics of political and economic cooperation. Nur-Sultan is the main political and economic partner of Seoul in the Central Asian region.High-level contacts are maintained on a regular basis.
In August 2021, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev paid a state visit to the Republic of Korea. This visit was the first visit by a foreign head of state since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. As a result of this visit, a Joint Statement on the expansion of strategic partnership was adopted.
One of the important points of the program of the state visit of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was the transfer of the remains of the Korean hero General Hong Beom Do, previously buried in the Kyzylorda region. This move found a wide positive response among the people of South Korea and helped to increase the recognition of Kazakhstan.In 2022, Jan. 28 marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In this regard, large-scale work is being carried out between the relevant ministries to hold various events in honor of this event."
Q: Please introduce your Head of Government in detail, including his major achievements.
"At the beginning of Jan. 2022, a new Prime Minister, Mr. Alikhan Smailov, was appointed and an updated composition of ministers was formed.If we talk about the main achievements of Kazakhstan over the years of Independence, it can be noted that the volume of Kazakhstan's GDP increased 17 times - from $11.4 billion in 1993 to $190 billion in 2021. From $1.5 billion in 1991, trade grew to $100 billion. Kazakhstan's international reserves grew from $711 million in 1993 to $90.9 billion.
Since 2005, the gross inflow of foreign direct investment has amounted to $350 billion. Kazakhstan ranks first in the CIS in terms of net foreign direct investment per capita.At present, the share of small and medium-sized businesses in the economy is 33%, the number of people employed in this sector is 3.4 million people.
During the years of Independence, 181.4 million square meters of housing put into operation, up to 22.6 square meters increased the area of housing per inhabitant - from 14.4 square meters in 1991.The industry of sovereign Kazakhstan has mastered the production of more than 500 new types of products - petrochemistry, vehicles, transformers, pharmaceuticals, medical products, food and much more.
For 30 years, Kazakhstan has established itself as a mature democratic state with stable state institutions and a strong competitive economy. Fully integrated into the world trade and economic system and proved to be a reliable partner. Formed as the economic leader of the Central Asian region, Kazakhstan ensured internal political, inter-ethnic and inter-confessional stability. It strengthened in the international arena as an authoritative and stable state with a multi-vector and balanced foreign policy."
Q: What is the present volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?
"Kazakhstan is Korea's largest trade and economic partner in the Central Asian region. At the end of 2021, the trade turnover between our countries amounted to $3.2 billion. Over the past 15 years, the Republic of Korea has invested about $6.7 billion in the economy of Kazakhstan. For 9 months of 2021, FDI amounted to $506.6 million."
Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
"I think that our relations have very good prospects. Politically, we have no unresolved issues or questions. In economic terms, our economies are complementary, we have a rich resource base and a large territory, your country has high technologies. In addition, we should not forget such a factor as the large Korean diaspora in Kazakhstan, which is an important factor in rapprochement. Another important element is the great positive image that South Korea has in Kazakhstan.
Several important projects are currently being implemented. Given Kazakhstan's rich mineral resource base, we are working to be a reliable supplier of the critical rare earth elements required by the electronics industry. As our President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted earlier during his state visit to the Republic of Korea, we are interested in creating joint production of computer equipment, network equipment, data processing centers. Kazakhstan is also working to roll out a 5G network."
"We invite Korean companies to take part in the implementation of 5G projects in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan plans to increase the share of alternative energy to 30% by 2030, of which 15% will be produced using renewable energy sources. To do this, in the near future we plan to implement projects with a capacity of 3-4 GW of electricity. Therefore, the experience of the Korean side is of great interest to us."