South Korean officials have established an agency to deepen the country’s trade ties with Central Asian states. The initiative signals South Korea’s intent on raising its economic profile in Central Asia.
Officially named the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum Secretariat, the agency is an outgrowth of South Korea’s 2013 “Eurasia Initiative,” launched under former president Park Geun-hye. The secretariat is functioning under the auspices of the Korea Foundation, a state-controlled public diplomacy entity, and is headed by Kim Gwang-keun, who has served as the foundation’s executive vice president.
Representatives of the five Central Asian states – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are also attached to the secretariat, which was formally minted in July. They function as goodwill ambassadors, striving to raise awareness in the Korean business community about the investment potential of their respective countries.
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Gary Sands is a Senior Analyst at Wikistrat, a crowdsourced consultancy, and a Director at Highway West Capital Advisors, a venture capital, project finance and political risk advisory. He has contributed commentaries to US News and World Report, Newsweek, Washington Times, The Diplomat, The National Interest, International Policy Digest, Asia Times, Eurasia Review, Indo-Pacific Review, the South China Morning Post, Global Times and China Digital Times.