Uganda and South Korea this week pledged to leverage their ‘long and special’ relationship to build a stronger link between the two countries.
The joint pledge was made at the Korean National Day reception to mark the 4352nd anniversary of the founding of the Korean nation on Tuesday in Kampala.
“With specific regard to our relations with Uganda, this past year has been one of consolidating what was an already robust relationship. Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been at the forefront of championing Uganda’s Vision 2040 through its various projects,” Mr Byung-Kyoo, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) to Uganda, said.
For example, Mr Byung-Kyoo, described the Uganda Airlines, which was recently revamped after years without operating, as a story of “Ugandan pride, strong spirit and foresight”, and pledged support to the same.
“I hope that KOICA’s ongoing project to modernise and automate the Entebbe International Airport will also make a contribution to the success of Uganda Airlines,” he said.
He also cited the recent commissioning of the Soroti Fruit Processing Factory in April, a project, he says will provide employment for many Ugandans and consequently increase household incomes in and around the region.
The Korean envoy also thanked Uganda for supporting the process that is intended to bring peace on the Korean Peninsula. In the recent past, there have been negotiations between South and North Korea, backed by the international community, over the same.
“There may be many difficulties ahead, but we will never go back to the past again and never give up on this brave journey. At this juncture, allow me to express my sincere appreciation to the Ugandan government for its full support of the Korean peace process,” Mr Byung-Kyoo said.
Mr Bright Rwamirama, the Minister of State for Veteran Affairs, reiterated Uganda’s support to the same.
“In the diplomatic arena, the government of Uganda would like to express and reiterate the continued support for the process of the reunification of the Korea peninsula without outside interference. We welcome the dialogue and efforts between the leaders of the Republic of Korea [South Korea] and the Democratic Republic of Korea [North Korea], and strongly believe that the only means to a lasting solution will be through peaceful engagement between the two Koreas,” Mr Rwamirama said.
Citing both countries’ involvement in South Sudan and other regional and international peace missions, he said both Uganda and South Korea are exporters of peace.
Korea supports Uganda on a number of programmes and initiatives, including Uganda’s refugee policy.
In July, for example, the Korean government through the World Food Programme, donated 5,000 tonnes of rice to refugees in Uganda.
Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is also working with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement an economic empowerment programme for women in the refugee-hosting districts, as well as working in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to improve access to quality education for refugee children.
Other programmes include the Health System Strengthening Project in the Greater Masaka Region by the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare and Korea Programme on International Agriculture (KOPIA), which focuses on disseminating agricultural technology and enhancing the productivity of local farmers in Uganda.
Korean governmental and non-governmental agencies, academic institutions, volunteers and business people, also contribute in various fields and capacities in communities around the country.
Korea traces its foundation far back to 2333 BC, with the modern republic established in 1948. This year marks the 56th anniversary since Uganda and South Korea established relations.