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Significance of President Park's Africa trip Updated: 2016-05-25 22:04:04 KST



With increasing political stability, economic growth and projected middle-class of 500 million by 2030, many call Africa the final untapped growth engine of the global community.
Recognizing that potential, the U.S., China and Japan's heads of state have already visited several African countries.
President Park Geun-hye will follow suit to become the fourth South Korean leader to make a visit.
She intends to establish business and possibly military cooperation and to launch Korea Aid, an official development assistance program, mobilizing special trucks to provide food, health checkups and cultural contents to people in Africa.
Let's take a closer look at some of the main agenda items to be discussed with each country.
President Park's first stop, Ethiopia.
What's significant here is that Ethiopia is the only African country to have deployed ground troops to Korea during the Korean War.
This would be the second time a Korean leader has visited the country since diplomatic relations were established in 1963.
With the history, some of the main issues that will be talked about between President Park and the leaders of Ethiopia, including President Mulatu Te-SHOme and Prime Minister Hailemariam DE-salegn, is increasing trade and investment and enhancing cooperation in national defense, peacekeeping operations, and health care.
She will also visit the African Union headquarters to meet with key members of the commission including its chair Madame NkosaZAna Zuma before delivering a speech to introduce Korea's new policy vision for the continent.

Next, the president will travel to Uganda.
Now, this is the first time the leader of Korea visiting the country since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1963.
The Ugandan President Yoweri MuSEveni actually was the first head of state to visit Korea after President Park took office in 2013.
Together they will discuss to seek enhanced cooperation between the two countries to tackle the North Korean nuclear issue, as Uganda is known to be a foothold for North Korea in East Africa.
Having displayed great interest in Saemaul-Undong, the political initiative to modernize the Korean rural economy in the 1970s, President Museveni will join President Park on her Saemaul-related activities during the visit.

The last stop of President's Park's African trip is Kenya, which will mainly focus on enhancing economic relations of the two countries.
It's interesting to note that the fathers of both President Park and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta were in office when the two countries first established diplomatic relations in 1964.

Once she completes her visits in Africa, President Park will head to Paris the following Wednesday for a state visit marking 130 years of diplomatic relations with France.
Hwang Hojun, Arirang News.
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