Kazakhstan’s top envoy to South Korea, Nurgali Arystanov, reiterated burgeoning ties with Korea, marking his country’s first Constitution Day at a round table discussion hosted by the Kazakh Embassy in Seoul on Tuesday.
The occasion commemorates Kazakhstan's inaugural Constitution Day after a nationwide referendum in June 2022, driven by President Tokayev's vision of a just and equitable Kazakhstan.
Introducing recent constitutional changes in Kazakhstan and the burgeoning Kazakh-Korea economic partnership at the round table, Arystanov highlighted economic strides achieved by his country through its partnership with Korea.
Notably, South Korea has ascended to become the fifth-largest investor in Kazakhstan, contributing a substantial $485.1 million in the first quarter of 2023, said Arystanov.
"Korea stands as the fourth-largest trade partner of Kazakhstan," stated Arystanov, citing trade turnover figures.
According to the Kazakh Embassy in Seoul, Kazakh-Korea bilateral trade reached a level of $3.5 billion in the period from January to June 2023, comprising $2.4 billion in exports from Kazakhstan to Korea and $1.1 billion in imports from Korea to Kazakhstan.
"Now, we have 740 companies operating with the participation of Korean capital," said Arystanov, citing the participation of SK Engineering & Construction, Korea Expressway, Doosan Enerbility, Korean Institute of Geological Research and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), KIA Car Assembly Plant and Samsung Electronics in numerous projects in Kazakhstan.
Arystanov urged South Korea to engage in Kazakhstan's Middle Corridor initiative, aimed at developing seaports on the Caspian Sea.
The corridor aims to serve as an alternative to the Northern Corridor that transports goods from China through Russia to European markets.
The corridor can span multiple modes of land and sea transport and facilitate the movement of products from China to Europe via countries such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, utilizing the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
"South Korea is a global leader in shipbuilding; we could cooperate in this area," the ambassador said.
Meanwhile, the roundtable also discussed the bridging role of 100,000 ethnic Koreans living in Kazakhstan, as well as growing startups, educational cooperation, and air connectivity through 11 flights operating between Almaty and Seoul, run by Air Astana and Asiana Airlines.
Kazakhstan and Korea are working to launch a direct flight between Astana and Seoul, and negotiations are underway with the T’way Air Company to open additional direct flights on the route, according to the Kazakh Embassy.