President Moon Jae-in will wrap up his 8-day tour of three Central Asian nations this evening, and return home on Tuesday.
The trip served as a gateway to activate President Moon's long-sought 'New Northern Policy' which aims to bring sustainable peace to the Korean Peninsula by boosting diplomatic and economic ties with northern neighbors.
While the president is widely believed to have made big economic achievements through his trip to Central Asia, we now go in-depth on what President Moon is bringing home in detail.
For that, Dr. Shin Sang-hyup, Professor of Pan-Pacific Int'l Studies at Kyung Hee University now joins me in the studio.
1. The 'New Northern Policy' is one of the Moon administration's core foreign economic policy, along with 'New Southern Policy'. Could you start us off by explaining more in detail on what the 'New Northern Policy' is?
2. As part of efforts to engage Korea's northern neighbors in the 'New Northern Policy', President Moon made his trip to three Central Asian nations, namely Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. How significant are these three nations to his push for the policy?
3. President Moon's first stop was Turkmenistan, a nation of rich energy resources. The president strived to help Korean firms tap into the Central Asian country by signing some 25 documents including the promotion of industrial sectors from energy and logistics to health and medical care. Could you tell us more about those agreements, and how do you assess them?
4. The second leg of his Central Asian tour was in Uzbekistan. The Korea-Uzbekistan relationship was elevated to a 'special strategic partnership'. This is an upgrade from the establishment of their strategic partnership 13 years ago, in 2006. What does the upgrade imply?
5. The president of Uzbekistan has proposed projects worth some 12 billion dollars on sectors ranging from energy plants to health and ICT. And the two leaders also agreed to start research for a future Korea-Uzbek FTA. How do you assess these economic agreements and their future?
6. And finally in Kazakhstan, President Moon was able to send home the remains of patriots who fought for Korea's independence. This marks the first time a Korean President brought back the remains of Korea's independence fighters from foreign soil. Significance?
7. Kazakhstan is Central Asia's largest economy, and also was Korea's largest trading partner in the region last year. What's your perspective on future economic exchanges between these two nations, especially on logistics cooperation?
8. Korea is suffering from a sluggish domestic growth, with economic institution at home and abroad giving out a gloomy outlook for the local economy. How much significance does President Moon's trip to Central Asia have, focusing just on economic aspects?
9. President Moon has been pushing for the 'New Northern Policy' for quite some time. What more should be done to turn the policy into something that helps people of Korea to feel the benefits themselves?