In his first visit to the Kurdistan Region, this week Korea's ambassador to Iraq met President Masoud Barzani, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and senior government officials to congratulate the new cabinet and discuss ways of enhancing bilateral ties.
Ambassador Heyon Meyong Kim met President Barzani to discuss how to strengthen bilateral relations between Korea and the Kurdistan Region. President Barzani said, "Korea is an important and advanced country and has a valued position within the international community. We hope that we can benefit from your experience and encourage Korean business to establish a strong presence in our region."
The Republic of Korea currently has an Embassy Office in Erbil and is headed by Consul General Joo Joong Chul.
Over time and through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Korea has offered training and scholarship programmes to officials in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Ambassador Kim said, "I'm very impressed by the excellent leadership of Kurdistan that has led to so much progress, and I hope this leadership will lead to further peace and prosperity for the Kurdish people and that it will spread to other parts of Iraq as well. And, in this process, I think that the Korean experience in development is very important, and we want to share it with Kurdistan."
The President congratulated Ambassador Kim on his new assignment and confirmed his readiness to support his mission in Iraq in order to ensure its success.
In his meeting with Prime Minister Nerchivan Barzani, Ambassador Kim congratulated him on the formation of the seventh cabinet and said that he was pleased with the KRG's ongoing efforts to reach out to the international community and for its support to the private sector. He said, "Political security and economic growth are the key elements of a progressive people, and I am impressed with the ongoing progress of Kurdistan."
Prime Minister Barzani congratulated the ambassador on his new assignment and reflected on the previous Korean Zaytun Division that was based in Kurdistan, saying their contributions to local communities played a strong role in establishing political and economic ties between the two sides. He added that the KRG appreciated KOICA's ongoing technical assistance and human capacity programmes to the people of Kurdistan.
The ambassador also met with the Head of KRG's Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, to discuss Korea's positive contributions to Kurdistan and its people. He said, "Our employees have benefited greatly from the courses and scholarship programmes that KOICA provides. We want to encourage further exchanges of visits between us and also invite technical experts to provide knowledge and experience in the fields of agriculture, industry and tourism."