Estonia builds ties with South Korea

  • 2010-01-13
  • From wire reports

TALLINN - Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet discussed the development of political, economic, science and information technology co-operation between Estonia and South Korea with South Korean Foreign and Trade Minister Yu Myung-hwan during his visit to the Republic of Korea, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, reports news agency LETA. During their meeting, the foreign minister of the Republic of Korea was, first and foremost, interested in the utilization of information technology in the Estonian public sector. Paet said that there is “a great deal of untapped potential” in economic and trade relations between Estonia and South Korea.

“Areas of economic co-operation that are of interest to our entrepreneurs are the logistics and transport sector and information technology. The agreement for the avoidance of double taxation we signed with Korea in September provides extra security for the development of economic relations,” said Paet. He added that the information technology sector could also provide an opportunity for Estonia and South Korea to co-operate in development co-operation.
“Estonian experts already have a lot of experience with developing and implementing e-government in Eastern European and Southern Caucasus countries. South Korea also helps many nations to make their public administration more effective, so there are significant points of overlap here,” said the foreign minister.

Paet and Myung-hwan agreed that contacts between Estonian and South Korean universities are developing successfully. “We are interested in expanding higher educational and research co-operation with Korea,” said the Estonian official, adding that Estonian universities could also be good co-operation partners for South Korean technology companies. Paet and Myung-hwan went on to discuss politics and Afghanistan. The South Korean minister stated that they plan to once again send additional civil experts as well as soldiers to the country. Paet gave his South Korean colleague an overview of Estonia’s military and civil contribution to developing the health care system in Helmand Province.

The foreign ministers also discussed the situation in North Korea and matters related to its nuclear program. Myung-hwan gave an overview of the most recent developments in relations with North Korea. Paet said that North Korea’s nuclear program is a threat to the entire world. “It is also absurd how a nation with a starving population is spending enormous sums on its nuclear program. The UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea for stopping the nuclear program are an unfortunate necessity,” he added.

Returning to business, Paet then met with South Korean Deputy Minister of Energy and Information Technology Cho Seok, with whom he discussed the co-operation opportunities in the IT sector.
Korea is known as one of the world’s most Internet-intensive nations. Korea is interested in Estonia’s information technology-related development and the NATO Cyber Defense Center in Estonia. “South Korean experts are welcome to come and get acquainted with the work of the Cyber Defense Center,” said Paet.
He also visited the Samsung Electronics factory and met with its directors. Samsung products make up 23 percent of South Korea’s exports.