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President Rumen Radev: Bulgaria Has the Ambition to Raise Its Relations with the Republic of Korea to the Level of Strategic Partnership

2024-02-12 16:42:00

Bulgaria has the ambition to raise its relations with the Republic of Korea to the level of a strategic partnership. This is what Head of State Rumen Radev said during a meeting at the presidential institution with the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Kim Jin-pyo, who is on an official visit to Bulgaria. During the talks, the two discussed the prospects for deepening bilateral cooperation in economy, energy, defence, automotive industry, high technologies, scientific research and space exploration, education and culture.

The President expressed this country's desire to build on the comprehensive and future-oriented partnership between Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea, including by attracting strategic investments in this country. The trade between the two countries has been growing in recent years and in the first 9 months of 2023 the total trade between Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea was worth USD 344.7 million, marking an increase of 27.2% compared to the same period of 2022. The Head of State highlighted Bulgaria's advantages for attracting investments from the Republic of Korea, including the trained personnel in a number of fields, the accumulated experience in the field of information technologies, the developed start-up ecosystem in the country, the favourable geographic location, the competitive tax policy, as well as the energy diversification with the ensured free access to the liquefied gas terminals in Greece and Turkiye, which guarantees reliability of supplies and low prices for the energy used by the business. There was a common view that there are sufficient preconditions for even more investments between Bulgaria and the Republic of Korea, exchange of expertise and technology transfer. During the meeting, the Head of State also expressed this country's interest in strengthening bilateral cooperation in the defence and security sector, including in terms of exchange of experience and defence technologies.

The growing interest in the Korean language and culture in Bulgaria was also discussed. Student exchange is important for promoting bilateral relations, was the common position during the meeting. The Korean language is studied from the first grade at the 18th William Gladstone high school  in Sofia, as well as in the Korean Studies Department of St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. The Republic of Korea is the first Asian country to offer a full course of Bulgarian language studies in a higher education institution. Hankuk University in Seoul has a Bulgarian Studies Centre at the Department of Greek and Bulgarian Studies since 2019.

The Head of State renewed his invitation to the President of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk-Yeol to visit this country.

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