President Yoon visits Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan

Expanding the scope of economic cooperation, including supply of key minerals

By Diplomacy Journal Lee Kap-soo


President Yoon Suk-yeol embarked on a state visit to three Central Asian countries on June 10, expanding the scope of economic cooperation, including the supply chain for key minerals.


The three-nation trip, which follows the establishment of the Korea-Central Asia Summit and the so-called “K-Silk Road” initiative, is the third part of Yoon's regional strategy after the Indo-Pacific Strategy and the ASEAN-Korea Solidarity Initiative.



According to the presidential office, Yoon will travel to Turkmenistan (June 10-11), Kazakhstan (June 11-13), and Uzbekistan (June 13-15) with First Lady Kim Keon-hee.


This is Yoon's first trip this year, and his first trip in about six months since his Dec. 15 trip to the Netherlands last year. As Korea and Turkmenistan, the world's fourth-largest natural gas producer, have strong cooperation in the energy and plant sectors, Yoon will discuss concrete measures to expand Korean companies' presence in the energy and plant sectors.


He will also discuss ways to expand cooperation in other areas such as shipbuilding, healthcare, and education.


In addition to traditional sectors such as energy, infrastructure, and manufacturing, his visit to Kazakhstan will cover alternative energy, climate change response, and ways to strengthen cooperation in science and technology.


The two leaders will also discuss ways to expand supply chain cooperation between South Korea and Kazakhstan, especially in the fields of key minerals such as lithium and uranium, and how the two countries can synergize on economic security.


Kazakhstan, with its abundant mineral resources, is an oil producer and boasts a high global market share in key minerals such as uranium and chromium, so Yoon's visit is expected to have a positive impact on supply chain cooperation.


The final leg of Yoon's trip will be to Uzbekistan, where he plans to deepen the existing 'Special Strategic Partnership' and institutionalize bilateral cooperation by signing various memorandums of understanding (MOUs).


Uzbekistan, a resource-rich country and our key partner in Central Asia, will also strengthen its mineral supply chain partnership and support Korean companies in winning energy and infrastructure projects, and accelerate its sales diplomacy in Central Asia.