South Korea and seven Central American nations held a "special roundtable" in Seoul today to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas from trade and technology to health care sectors.
The seven countries hosted by Seoul are Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama.
And joining me in the studio are three of the Vice Ministers who took part in the special roundtable.
I have here with me Adriana Bolanos, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica Hugo Rivera, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic and Juan Sosa, Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama.
Welcome all to the show.
Back in June this year, President Moon Jae-in held his first virtual summit with the leaders of eight Central American nations that form the Central American Integration System, more widely known as SICA. South Korea joined it in 2012 as an extra-regional observer.
It's been nine years since then.
How would you define South Korea, Central America diplomatic relations today?
What were your expectations coming to attend the "special roundtable" in Korea this time?
Let me now delve into individual countries. In alphabetical order, let me begin with Costa Rica. It became OECD's 38th member last year. With its new global standing, in what ways does Costa Rica plan to cooperate or collaborate with South Korea on the international stage?
Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic recently saw a remarkable period of robust economic growth.
What are some key fields of cooperation between South Korea and the Dominican Republic?
Panama is South Korea's number one trading partner in Central America. What does Panama anticipate from the South Korea, Central America Free Trade Agreement that took effect on March 1st this year?
Panama is also a regional logistic hub with the Panama Canal and its logistics infrastructure.
A Korean consortium recently won a 2.8 billion dollar project to build the Panamanian Metro Line 3.
What other infrastructure plans does Panama have?
Renewable energy is an area of rising interest by many countries these days, but both South Korea and the Dominican Republic have been making particular efforts to develop the renewable energy sector. Do you think South Korea and the Dominican Republic could collaborate on this front?
Was it last week? The Republic of Costa Rica became one of the five inaugural winners of the 2021 Earthshot Prize for its successful restoration of the natural ecosystems and revivial of the rainforest. What are some potential areas of cooperation with Korea in this field?
It definitely appears South Korea and Central America have an exciting future together.
Adriana Bolanos, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica Hugo Rivera, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic and Juan Sosa, Vice Minister of Commerce and Industry of Panama many thanks for this special dialogue tonight. We appreciate it.