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00707012
2012.06
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KOREAN

‘Vision Sharing for National Development’ / Promoting Korea-Central America Ties toward Common Goals


A group of cabinet ministers and governmental advisors responsible for national development strategies of Central American countries visited Korea on April 22-28, under the Korea Foundation’s “Vision Sharing Program for National Development 2012.” During their stay, the delegation shared Korea’s experience in economic development and conducted in-depth discussions with their Korean counterparts on ways to achieve development for their respective countries.

Opportunity to Boost Bilateral Exchanges

Under its “Vision Sharing Program for National Development” (hereafter the “Program”), the Korea Foundation invited a group of high-ranking government officials of Latin American countries to visit Korea to provide them with an opportunity to observe firsthand Korea’s rapid economic development and the government’s development strategy and implementation efforts.By assisting the partner countries in establishing development strategies based on their respective situations, the Program seeks to strengthen cooperative relations with the Central American region and to share Korea’s future-oriented vision for joint development and co-prosperity.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Central American region, where Korea currently maintains diplomatic ties with 15 countries. The visiting delegation included minister-level officials from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Panama.
They had an opportunity to deepen their understanding of Korea’s economic development from diverse aspects, such as the factors behind the successful growth and the efforts to overcome various challenges. In view of the fact that Central America is an important trade partner of Korea, their visit would be useful for enhancing mutual exchanges and cooperative ties between Korea and the region as well as formulating development vision and policies in each country.

Prior to their departure, the delegates got together to share their thoughts and impressions of Korea and their experiences during the visit.


Hope Renewed by Korea’s Example

Roberto Gallardo Nunez, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica Roberto Gallardo Nunez, Minister of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica: “I would like to express my gratitude to the Korea Foundation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. During our visit, I realized just how important the relations between Korea and Costa Rica really are. I am quite surprised to see Korea has achieved significant economic development over such a short period of time. Since it is isolated, Central America lags behind in economic development. Although it’s been a short visit, I found the Program to be very helpful.”

Erick Archila Dehesa, Minister of Energy and Mining, Guatemala


Erick Archila Dehesa, Minister of Energy and Mining, Guatemala: “I was impressed by the fact that Korea has grown so much in a short period of time. I hope my country can share and learn from Korea’s experiences. I will make efforts to apply to Guatemala what I have learned from this Program. The most impressive thing was that despite its lack of natural resources, Korea has made so much progress in the energy sector by utilizing its human resources. I gave some thought to how we can develop closer relations between the Korea Foundation and Guatemala. We maintain less active relations with Korea than with other countries. Korea has recently emerged as one of the most important countries in terms of trade and industry. We need to enhance and diversify our bilateral relations. Guatemala has sufficient growth potential. I hope Korea will actively invest in Guatemala.”

Orlando Salvador Solorzano, Minister of Development, Industry and Trade Orlando Salvador Solorzano, Minister of Development, Industry and Trade: “Thanks to this Program, we have learned from Korea’s experience and vision and now we can better envision the future of our own countries. I can see the future with hope. I consider relations between Korea and Central America complementary. Both sides need to make more efforts to achieve mutually beneficial results. As industrialization progresses, the agricultural sector tends to see slower growth. So we need to strike a balance between the two sectors. Strategically located in the middle of Central America, Nicaragua has great potential in the agricultural sector. Nicaragua and Korea will be able to complement each other through various cooperative initiatives.

Korea serves as an exemplary model of economic development. Currently, bilateral trade is very active between our nations, but I hope it will be enhanced further as there is even greater potential. What you see is the proof. Many attempts are being made. But I think that more interest from Korea will further facilitate Nicaragua’s advancement. When I return home, I will put into practice what I have learned from the Program, including green growth, which was most impressive for me, as well as diplomacy, trade, and technology.”



Zeal for Education

Fernando Carrera Castro, Secretary for Planning and Programming of the Presidency, Guatemala Fernando Carrera Castro, Secretary for Planning and Programming of the Presidency, Guatemala: “During my visit to Korea, I have discovered several interesting facts. Korea and Central America are similar in that we have endured a turbulent history, and as to how Korea overcame its adversities, the region needs to learn from this country. Another thing is that Korea has improved the quality of its education, maximizing the value of its human resources. Central American countries need to enhance the quality of their education through investment in the economic and educational sectors. Korea has set up and achieved ambitious goals. But there are also some negative effects, like commercialism. Green growth is a good effort, but we need to think about a more fundamental question as well: What are our inherent values as human beings. I hope Korean-Central American relations will be further deepened and vitalized.

Rigoberto Cuéllar Cruz, State Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Honduras Rigoberto Cuéllar Cruz, State Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, Honduras: “I’d like to thank the Korea Foundation and the Korean government for this invitation. I have learned a lot of things from the visit and it’s been very helpful. I hope bilateral exchanges will be further increased. I’d like to mention one particular lesson that I learned during my stay. Korea has been frequently invaded by neighboring countries. But it overcame those crises and has successfully grown into what it is today. Central America has a similar history as Korea, and now we need to grow like Korea. I have realized that we need to make changes in the political arena and strive to attain economic growth.

We have exchanged a variety of information through seminars and lectures over the past seven days. During a meeting with Korean businessmen, language barrier barriers were pointed out as an obstacle in their efforts to make inroads into Central America. But I don’t think that matters so much. A real problem is that businesses tend to not take a chance if they are not certain. I hope they will seize opportunities to enter the market with an enterprising spirit. I want to invite Korean companies to the region and offer them investment opportunities.”


Mario Roger Hernandez, Vice Minister of Economy, El Salvador Mario Roger Hernandez, Vice Minister of Economy, El Salvador: “It was such a helpful visit. I was able to obtain a diverse range of knowledge by looking at how Korea has endured such a turbulent history and came to have such high quality human resources. It was very encouraging to see such an enterprising spirit. Since I learned so many things from this Program, I’d like to extend my thanks to the Korean foreign ministry and the Foundation. I believe cooperative relations between Korea and Central America will be enhanced further.”

Mirna Vallejos de Crespo, Vice Minister of Education, Panama Mirna Vallejos de Crespo, Vice Minister of Education, Panama: “I appreciate this opportunity to learn about Korea. Korea has a great zeal for education. During my visit, I have been very impressed by the fact that Korea has managed to practically eradicate illiteracy, and most of its people benefit from higher education. I think we should learn from Korea’s ardent zeal for investment in the education sector. Korea is very willing to help other countries and the people seem very kind and warmhearted. Central America needs help from Korea. I hope Korea will pay more attention to our region.”



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