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Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Pankyu, has said expanding economic partnership with Nigeria has always been top priority of his country since the establishment of Nigerian/Korean diplomatic relationship over 44 years ago.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the envoy who has only spent 50 days in Nigeria, said Nigeria was already Korea’s top five trade partners in Africa.

“I would like to do my best to further expand economic exchanges between Korea and Nigeria. Promoting economic partnership has always been the focus since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries 44 years ago.

“Nigeria is already Korea’s top five trade partners in Africa. I believe we can do more. Since the current Nigerian government is actively carrying out economic reform to improve business environment in Nigeria, I will introduce this change to Korean companies and encourage them to venture into Nigeria and make investment.

“ I will explore ways to deepen security cooperation drawing on my expertise in military and security affairs. In particular, I would like to focus on promoting cooperation on maritime security because securing maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is essential not only for coastal countries including Nigeria but also for countries passing through this region including Korea.

“In addition, I intend to expand Korea’s support for capacity building of the Nigerian military and security officers,” he stated.

He assured that he would try to facilitate people-to-people exchange between the two countries.

“I believe culture has the power to connect people and improve understanding of each other. Korean Culture Centre in Abuja has played an important role in introducing Korean culture in Nigeria so far. I will do my best to provide Nigerians with more opportunities to experience various Korean cultural contents. I will also explore ways to let more Nigerian students study in Korea,” he added.

He revealed that Korea will host many side events on this occasion including Korea-Africa Business Summit and a multiple fora on ICT, health, tourism and energy.

He said: “These events will help us come up with practical and concrete measures to expand cooperation. During the Summit, there will be plenty of opportunities for Nigeria and Korea to explore ways to expand their bilateral economic and cultural exchanges both between governments and private sectors.

“ In a nutshell, I believe the upcoming Korea-Africa Summit will set a new milestone in the relationship between Korea and Africa.”

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