From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Republic of Korea 1st Vice Minister, Foreign Affairs, Mr. Choi Jong Kun, has said South Korea will partner with Nigeria in order to ensure adequate security in the Gulf of Guinea.
This was even as the Government of the Republic of Korea pledged to provide training assistance to future leaders in Nigeria through people-to-people exchanges.
Kun who disclosed this during a media interactive session with a select group of journalists in Abuja, said South Korea media reports on the activities in the Gulf of Guinea were unpalatable.
Recall that Kun was on a one-day official visit to Nigeria where he met with some government officials, particularly the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and the Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada.
Speaking on the primary areas of focus in the bilateral relations between the Republic of Korea and Nigeria, Kun said both countries were focusing on three areas.
On the economic side, he said Nigeria is providing South Korea with very vast market, disclosing that more than half of South Korea’s foreign construction sale in Africa come from Nigeria.
He noted that Nigeria is building infrastructure projects, saying that Korean construction companies were good and reliable builders.
Kun further said the volume of trade between both countries which is currently around 400 to 500 million dollars, needed to be improved upon.
Kun added that the second area South Korea and Nigeria are looking at is transnational security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.
He stated that basically, when it comes down to the word ‘Nigeria’ in Korea, Korean nationals used to have very positive association.
Kun disclosed that Nigeria also meant a lot of mysterious things from Africa, saying however that recently, a lot of hijacking has been happening in the Gulf of Guinea by Nigerians.
He explained that press coverage by the South Korean media on the situation when it comes down to Nigeria had been very negative story.
“So, we want to partake in securing our fishing industry in the Gulf of Guinea whereby cooperating with the Government of Nigeria. That we will do,” Kun said.
Kun further said the third area of cooperation is the cultural side such as people-to-people exchanges which will include financing, educational exchange between Korean universities students and Nigerian universities.
“Nigeria offers very meaningful African culture to Korean and East Asian people. So, we are now collaborating between the two.
“Also, as a nation of the hi-tech, we are willing to provide training assistance to future leaders of this country, that is, people-to-people exchanges,” Kun also said.
On the management of COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea, Kun said the Republic of Korea has been successful in handling the situation.
He said as a country of 53 million population, its confirmed cases were relatively small when compared to other countries with such population.