South Korea to invest $3.2 billion in Kazakhstan

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (C) arrives at an airport in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, Apr. 21, 2019. EFE/EPA/YONHAP

NUR SULTAN.- – South Korea and Kazakhstan on Monday penned a range of investment agreements totaling $3.2 billion covering digital technologies, infrastructure and medicine.

The agreements, part of the bilateral cooperation program «Fresh Air,» were signed during a Kazakh-Korean business forum held in the capital Nur-Sultan and attended by visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

«We know that Kazakhstan is preparing to make a leap into the digital age, and Korea, a leading country in the processing industry and preparing for the fourth industrial revolution, can become a reliable partner in Kazakhstan in this direction,» Moon said.

Moon, making his first official visit to the Kazakh capital, praised Kazakhstan as Central Asia’s fastest growing economy and highlighted its large reserves of raw materials.

The South Korean president arrived in Kazakhstan on Sunday as part of an official tour of Central Asian countries, and is due to remain until Tuesday.

He previously visited Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said his country was among the leading recipients of South Korean investment.

«The amount of trade for the end of 2018 reached a record of $4 billion. This is more than twice that of 2017. Only the flow of direct investment from South Korea and Kazakhstan amounted to $7 billion,» he said.

Tokayev cited among the major ventures the construction of the Big Almaty Ring Road, an estimated $750-million infrastructure project awarded to a Turkish-South Korean consortium.

The two sides also agreed on the creation of a Kazakh-South Korean computer technology center in Nur-Sultan.

On Tuesday, Moon is scheduled to visit Almaty, where he will meet with the Korean Diaspora, which was forcibly deported to Kazakhstan from the Russian Far East in 1937 under Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s ethnic cleansing. EFE

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