South Korea and Rwanda can learn from each other – envoy

South Korean Ambassodor to Rwanda Park Yong-min (L) in discussion with Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa during his courtesy call on Parliament yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

South Korean Ambassodor to Rwanda Park Yong-min (L) in discussion with Speaker Donatille Mukabalisa during his courtesy call on Parliament yesterday. (Timothy Kisambira)

Amb. Park Yong-min made the statement yesterday shortly after meeting Speaker of Parliament Donatille Mukabalisa at her office at Parliament Buildings in Kigali.

The meeting was one of the envoy’s first courtesy calls to the country’s top officials since he presented his credentials to President Paul Kagame in August last year.

His discussions with the Speaker focused on bilateral relations between the two countries and how to improve cooperation to learn from each other.

“We agreed that there is a large room to strengthen inter-parliamentary cooperation between our two countries; more exchanges between our lawmakers. We also discussed about our cooperation in international fora. Rwanda and Korea worked together as members of the UN Security Council for two years in 2013 and 2014 and we keep working together very closely,” the diplomat told journalists.

While bilateral relations between the two countries have been about development cooperation for years—with Korean experts helping in the areas of trade, technology, rural development and education among others— the two countries have recently been supporting each other at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Social integration process

Between 2013 and 2014, Rwanda and South Korea simultaneously served as non-permanent members of the UNSC and diplomats said the two countries demonstrated their close cooperation in multilateral affairs during their tenures.

The Korean envoy and Speaker Mukabalisa also discussed national reconciliation and social integration process in Rwanda, which South Korea sees as a very important example for Koreans, according to the envoy.

“Many Rwandans believe that South Korea is a strategic model for socio-economic development and when they look at Korea they see how their economic development should go ahead and in that sense there is something we could share,” Amb. Park said.

“As for us, we believe that once the North and South Korea are unified one day we will have a lot to learn from Rwanda’s national reconciliation process.”

Mukabalisa said that her discussions with the envoy turned out to be a chance to express commitment to continue working together between the two countries.

“There is a lot the two countries are doing together and we agreed that we should continue working together,” she said, adding that the South Korean envoy said cooperation between the two countries will continue.

Experts say that Rwandans can learn from South Korea’s sense of ownership and competitive spirit as part of their efforts to fight poverty and drive the country’s socio-economic transformation.

South Korea ranks among the top richest countries in the world after it managed to become a global technology hub with its high-end industry sector.

By Eugene Kwibuka, The New Times

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