The Ambassador of the Republic of South Korea to the Kingdom, Hai Kwan Chung, emphasized the depth of relations between Bahrain and the Republic of South Korea, as Bahrain is an important point for his country in this part of the world.
During a visit to Al-Ayyam and a meeting with editor-in-chief Issa Al-Shayji and the editorial staff, Ambassador Chung said that the relations of the two countries are old and have deep roots, and always see growth in various fields, pointing out that the Koreans have feelings of pride towards the Kingdom of Bahrain, where the Kingdom was the first front. It is intended for Korean airlines in the Arabian Gulf region.
In the economic and commercial affairs, Ambassador Hai Kwan Chung revealed expectations that the volume of trade exchange between the two countries will rise to one billion US dollars by the end of this year, after recording about 650 million dollars during the first half of this year . .
The ambassador said that the volume of the trade exchange between the two countries is stable and growing, reaching about 800 million dollars during the years 2019-2020, before reaching about 860 million dollars in 2021, which is an increase of 8.7 % register despite the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on the different economies of the world.
The Korean ambassador emphasized that the embassy is closely following the health insurance project in cooperation between the Supreme Council of Health and the Institute of Health and Insurance in Korea, revealing that the project is in the stage of testing and launching the project through the application of technical aspects and the project’s work plan.
Below is the text of the interview:
How do you evaluate your relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain today?
– Our relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain have always been strong. They are not modern, but rather ancient and have deep roots. Relationships can be described with a word that shortens phrases, and it is a word of growth, as our relationships testify to growth in various fields, since there was always a horizon to make them deeper and multiple domains. And last year we celebrated the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Since assuming my duties, I have gladly paid attention to the visits of high-ranking officials, especially the visit of the Korean Foreign Minister to attend the “Manama Dialogue” security summit in 2020, as well as the mutual visits of the heads of parliaments in both countries in 2021. Bahrain also represented an important point ahead of South Korea in the region, as it was of course the first destination for Korean Airlines in the Gulf region during the seventies and eighties of the last century, there have been changes to some extent at the regional level, but of course the Koreans have feelings of pride towards the Kingdom of Bahrain, which formed the crossroads before them to this part of the region.
]What about cooperation between the two countries in the economic and investment field?
Of course, since the early seventies and eighties, energy and infrastructure projects form one of the main areas of cooperation between the two countries, especially projects related to the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Company “ASRY” and the National Museum. In the twenty-first century, the areas of our cooperation have been expanded to include new areas, especially the areas of information technology, especially the “Sijilat” project, which is an integrated commercial registry system, as well as the health insurance project that is within the framework of our bilateral cooperation has been established and managed.
At the same time, the two countries have similar orientations and policies in terms of promoting digital and environmentally friendly economies, so we expect more interest from Korean companies, especially those working in the fields of information technology, financial technology, green technology. as companies operating in the healthcare sector, about cooperation opportunities And joint business with the Bahraini side. There has also been cooperation in the area of infrastructure, as Samsung Engineering has established and operates sewage facilities in Muharraq, so I expect more cooperation in the area of environmental engineering.
]Is there a Korean interest in projects related to infrastructure, especially modern projects in Bahrain that are currently being worked on, as well as future projects?
– There is currently a project to modernize the Bahrain Petroleum Company “Bapco”, on which “Samsung Engineering” is working, in addition to ongoing projects in the fields of information and communication technology, health, industry and trade. Of course, there are projects that interest Korean companies, including the “Bahrain Metro” project, as well as projects related to the construction of bridges, which provide opportunities for cooperation and investment in them.
]What about the volume of trade, and what are the main traded commodities?
The volume of trade between South Korea and Bahrain is constant and growing. In 2019, the volume of trade between the two countries amounted to about 800 million US dollars, as well as in the year 2020, despite the significant effects of the Covid -19 pandemic on trade all over the world, but in the past the volume increased Trade exchange increased by 8.7% to reach $860 million. It is worth noting that the volume of trade exchange in the first half of this year amounted to approximately $650 million, which means that this year we are facing a significant increase of $1 billion can reach
In terms of commodities, Bahrain’s main exports to Korea are “naphtha” – one of the intermediate oil products – and aluminium, iron and manufacturing industries. As for Korea’s exports to Bahrain, they are automobiles, wires, medical equipment and industrial supplies.
]What about the investment sector?
– There were 57 projects in Bahrain, including 17 projects in which Korean companies worked. In the year 2020, a new Korean company was registered in Bahrain, working in the field of solar panels and electronic fields.
]Let me dwell on the health insurance project, where has this project reached?
– Of course, the embassy is closely monitoring this project in collaboration with the Supreme Council of Health in Bahrain and the Institute of Health and Insurance in Korea, as stakeholders in the Bahraini health sector are in the stages of piloting and piloting the project through the application of the technical aspects and the project’s work plan.
]I will move to the educational field. What about cooperation in the field of education between the two countries, especially since there is an agreement signed with the University of Bahrain?
– Of course, the embassy deals with educational fields with great enthusiasm, based on the great interest of Bahraini youth in the Korean language and culture, and the embassy, in cooperation with the King Sejong Institute, managed to close a number of partnerships with local universities in the field of teaching the Korean language, and one of these partnerships was the signing of a memorandum Agreement with the University of Bahrain on the establishment and operation of a branch of the Institute at the University of Bahrain . In addition, the institute offers community language courses at all levels, which are open to the public and free of charge, and hundreds of applicants have registered for different courses, and of course we look forward to more opportunities, especially before the large turnout of the public.
]You have cooperation with the Kingdom in the cultural field, what are the most important events held during the last period, and what are your future plans?
– Of course, the embassy recently participated in the last edition of the Bahrain Summer Festival, and the performances presented during this event were very well received by the public, especially the dance and music performances. The audience interacted with her during the two back-to-back shows last July. There were performances describing Korean history with choreography. Our embassy also organizes two to three events annually in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities. During the celebration of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations, a traditional Korean music performance, a food festival, as well as a “Taekwondo” tournament and a film festival were organized, and we plan to continue to organize a film festival as well as ‘ to organize a Taekwondo. tournament. Undoubtedly, the Bahraini cultural community welcomes and works carefully to present the best image of cultural cooperation between the two countries. We expect in the coming years, thanks to the strengthening of trust between the two sides, to see greater and broader cooperation in the cultural and artistic fields between the two countries.
I’ll close by asking about North Korea, what about your policy toward North Korea?
– Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol explained our country’s policy towards North Korea during a speech he delivered on the 77th anniversary of Korean liberation, which falls on August 15. , which serves as the basis for protecting and promoting our freedom and the freedom of citizens around the world The denuclearization of North Korea is necessary and important to the achievement of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, in Northeast Asia and throughout the world. The bold initiative I envision will make a significant addition to North Korea’s economy, and improve living standards in stages, if North Korea stops developing its nuclear program and begins a real and sustained process of denuclearization start. Where we will implement a wide food program as well as provide assistance in infrastructure projects, especially those related to energy generation, transmission and distribution, and we will implement a comprehensive program to modernize ports and airports for international trade. We will also help boost North Korea’s agricultural production, provide assistance to modernize hospitals and health infrastructure, and support international investment and financial support initiatives.”