Georgian, Armenian, Azeri officials visit South Korea

Georgian, Armenian, Azeri officials visit South Korea

Choson Ilbo web site, Seoul
28 Feb 05

Text of Arirang TV, published in English by South Korean newspaper Choson
Ilbo web site on 28 February

Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have a lot in common. All former
members of the USSR, the three countries have been struggling to make
transitions into market economies since the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991. Carrying out widespread reforms has led to steady
growth and lower inflation. But they are still battling issues like
poverty and high unemployment rates, problems Korea faced in the 60s
and 70s in the aftermath of the Korean War.

Officials from the Caucasus nations, are in town to learn about Korea’s
economy, especially how the country was able to emerge so quickly
from the ruins of the Korean War and into an economic powerhouse. The
officials say there is much to be learnt from Korea’s experience,
from both its successes and failures.

One area of great interest for these countries that are used to a
centrally planned economy is how to effectively lead the economy under
democratic conditions. “Strengthening the capacity of the state as
a planner and as a developer and supporter of the private sector is
critical for Georgia and Korea has very good experience. And this
is what we would like to primarily learn from your experience,”
said one official.

Officials are also taking the chance to increase bilateral cooperation
by inviting Korean investors to their countries. These countries hope
to benefit from technological help to fully utilize their resources
and successfully develop their economies. Increasing bilateral
ties is expected to be mutually beneficial. “By strengthening
the relationship between Korea and these countries, I think we can
enhance our international status. Not only diplomatic but also economic
status, because they have many good natural resources. We can have good
opportunity to secure those natural resources like oil and minerals,”
said one Korean official. Also for Korea, enhancing ties with the
three countries located at the strategically important area linking
Asia and Europe may open a new route to Southwest Asian countries.