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Korea, Costa Rica raise bilateral relations into ‘action-oriented’

Two leaders agree to boost partnerships in economy, environment, technology

Nov. 23, 2021 - 15:08 By Shin Ji-hye
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada heads to a summit with President Moon Jae-in after an official welcoming ceremony at Cheong Wa Dae on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
South Korea and Costa Rica will upgrade relations and boost their partnership in various fields, the two sides revealed after a summit between President Moon Jae-in and Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado Quesada in Seoul on Tuesday.

At the summit, the two leaders agreed to develop bilateral relations into an “action-oriented comprehensive partnership” from the current comprehensive partnership and adopted a joint declaration to promote collaboration.

“Next year is a special year for the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The two have cooperated in various fields based on common values such as democracy, human rights and peace,” Moon said.

“Today, we upgrade the relationship between the two countries to an ‘action-oriented comprehensive partnership.’ The two countries will get closer now. We look forward to practical and concrete results in various fields including eco-friendly, digital, science and technology and infrastructure.”

In response, Alvarado said, “The two countries maintain the common principles of peace, democracy, human rights, environmental sustainability and denuclearization.

“Costa Rica aims to deepen cooperation with Korea in areas where Korea occupies a leading position, such as science and technology innovation, tourism, aerospace industry, movies, hydrogen batteries and electric mobility.”

He hoped Korea would recognize Costa Rica as a strategic partner.

South Korea and Costa Rica have continued to expand trade and investment since the free trade agreement entered into force in November 2019.

Korea is the first Asian country to establish an “action-oriented comprehensive partnership” with Costa Rica, which has an “action-oriented partnership” with the US, Spain and some Latin American countries.

The two leaders agreed that digital and eco-friendly growth is essential for the post-COVID-19 economic recovery. They decided to link the Korean version of the New Deal policy with Costa Rica’s “3D” -- digitalization, decarbonization and decentralization -- economic achievement policy.

Specifically, they agreed to develop partnerships for future growth by digitizing government services, expanding digital and eco-friendly infrastructure, disposing of waste and supplying low-pollution cars.

Moon asked Alvarado to pay attention to Korean companies with experience and technology to participate in the digital and eco-friendly infrastructure projects promoted by the Costa Rican government.

Costa Rica announced the “2020-2050 National Land Development Strategy for Inclusive and Decarbonization” in March to build the 3D economy. To this end, it announced plans to invest $15.3 billion (34.7 percent of its gross domestic product) by 2050.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen government cooperation and corporate exchanges in digital technology and the environment to recover the economy after COVID-19. They also decided to seek new partnerships in the aviation and space industries, hydrogen economy, cultural content and tourism.

They will also strengthen exchanges through the Central American Integration System and the Korea-Central America free trade agreement while discovering and implementing triangular cooperation projects with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras next year.

Immediately after the summit, four memorandums of understanding with Costa Rica, including science and technology, digital government and environmental cooperation, were signed with the two leaders present.