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Uzbekistan: South Korea’s Feeling Lucky

President Lee Myung-bak’s administration in South Korea is making a risky bet on Uzbekistan. Seoul is ramping up its investments in the Central Asian state, but given that Uzbekistan is home to one of the most world’s most repressive and arbitrary regimes, South Korean deals stand a higher than usual chance of souring.

On paper, South Korea and Uzbekistan are a match made in heaven. While South Korea is anxious to acquire access to natural resources to fuel its booming economy, Uzbekistan’s authoritarian president, Islam Karimov, is looking for friends with large checkbooks that do not ask questions about human rights, and who are not Russia or China.

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Cornelius Graubner is a Central Asian policy expert affiliated with the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) in New York. EurasiaNet publishes under OSF’s auspices.

Uzbekistan: South Korea’s Feeling Lucky

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