Outcome of Korea-Rwanda Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (August 12)

Outcome of Korea-Rwanda Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (August 12)

Outcome of Korea-Rwanda Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (August 12)

Outcome of Korea-Rwanda Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (August 12)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Park Jin, who is on a trip to Africa, visited Rwanda from August 11 to 12 and met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda Vincent Biruta on August 12. In the meeting, the two sides extensively discussed a range of issues, including bilateral relations, enhancing substantive cooperation, regional affairs, and ways to cooperate in the international arena.

First, the two Foreign Ministers appreciated that the Korea-Rwanda relations have been strengthened, mainly in development cooperation, for the past 60 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and shared the view that it is time for the two countries, which have strengths in future technological innovation, to actively pursue cooperation in future-oriented areas.

During the meeting, the two Foreign Ministers signed the Korea-Rwanda Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Political Consultations to strengthen strategic dialogue between the foreign ministries of the two countries, laying the foundation for increasing substantive cooperation and continuing close communication on both bilateral and multilateral stages.

Foreign Minister Park took note of the achievements in development cooperation with Rwanda, an ODA priority partner country of Korea for 15 years (2011-25), mainly in the areas of ICT, education, and agriculture. Immediately after the meeting, the two Foreign Ministers signed the Framework Arrangement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) for 2022-26, expressing their will to expand cooperation to other areas, such as health and infrastructure.

In addition, Foreign Minister Park noted the potential for economic cooperation with Rwanda, which has been achieving a high economic growth rate of over 8%, growing as an ICT and logistics hub in East Africa, and stated that the Korea government will continue its efforts for economic cooperation, including establishing an institutional foundation to help Korean companies actively expand their presence in the Rwandan market.

In particular, Foreign Minister Park shared the view of the Korean government that the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), created under the leadership of President Kagame, presents an opportunity for expanding intra- and extra-African trade, and thus it is important to establish infrastructure for trade facilitation. He added that the Korean government will continue to work closely together with African countries, including Rwanda, toward the implementation of the AfCFTA through measures such as providing funding to the AfCFTA and establishing a customs clearance system (single window).

In response, Foreign Minister Biruta expressed confidence in Korean companies’ excellent technological capabilities and abilities, and suggested making joint efforts to increase bilateral investment and trade. Foreign Minister Biruta also offered to explore areas where the two countries can cooperate to facilitate trade.

Furthermore, Foreign Minister Park explained that there are three opportunities to advance the Korea-Rwanda relations, mentioning the Korean government’s bid to host the 2030 Busan World Expo, its plan to host the Korea-Africa Summit in 2024, and its non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2024-25 term. He requested Rwanda’s active interest and support, expressing confidence that such opportunities will serve as a turning point for the bilateral relations to develop into a long-term cooperative relationship for shared goals.

Particularly, Foreign Minister Park expressed hope that Rwanda, which is taking a leading role in technological innovation and climate change adaptation in Africa, will cooperate with Korea in seeking solutions for a better future through the 2030 Busan World Expo, and requested Rwanda’s support for Korea’s bid to host the event, hoping that it will help expand bilateral relations by providing a forum for exchanges between private companies.

Lastly, Foreign Minister Park stressed the importance of a firm and united response of the international community to additional provocations by North Korea, and requested Rwanda’s support and participation in the Yoon Suk Yeol government’s Audacious Initiative. Foreign Minister Biruta expressed support for the Initiative, and the two sides concurred to continue close communication for joint efforts for peace and stability in the international community.

During the visit to Rwanda, the first by a Korean Foreign Minister in ten years, Foreign Minister Park met with his Rwandan counterpart and signed the Korea-Rwanda MOU on Political Consultations and the Framework Arrangement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). This not only demonstrated the Korean government’s commitment and sincerity to strengthen diplomatic ties with Rwanda, but also laid the foundation for establishing a future-oriented cooperative relationship by developing the bilateral relations, previously focused on development cooperation, into mutually-beneficial ones.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.