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President of Equatorial Guinea to attend 1st Korea-Africa summit

S .Korean first vice foreign minister met Kenyan president as special presidential envoy for summit

April 17, 2024 - 17:05 By Ji Da-gyum
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea, delivers a speech during the first Gateway To Africa conference held at the Intercontinental Hotel on April 5, 2011 in Geneva. (Getty Images)

The President of Equatorial Guinea will attend the first-ever South Korea-Africa summit from June 4 to 5, acknowledging the commitment of the Yoon Suk Yeol government to strengthening cooperation with African countries, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul announced Wednesday.

The announcement followed talks between South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul and his Equatorial Guinean counterpart Simeon Oyono Esono Angue in Seoul on the same day.

"Both sides engaged in discussions on matters of mutual interest, including substantive cooperation between the two countries, collaboration on a global scale and the situation on the Korean Peninsula," the Foreign Ministry said.

"The official visit by an Equatorial Guinean foreign minister marks the first in 18 years since 2006. This visit served as a significant opportunity to assess bilateral relations between South Korea and Equatorial Guinea and to discuss avenues for expanding substantive cooperation, in anticipation of the upcoming South Korea-Africa summit."

During the meeting, Esono Angue reaffirmed President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo's attendance at the Korea-Africa summit, "highly appreciating the Korean government's determination to strengthen cooperation with Africa," according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.

South Korean Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul (right) poses for a photo with his Equatorial Guinean counterpart, Simeon Oyono Esono Angue, at the Seoul ministry on Wednesday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The two ministers also engaged in discussions aimed at aligning their positions on North Korea issues as well as enhancing economic ties.

Both ministers emphasized the importance of a united response and cooperation from the international community in light of North Korea's escalatory behaviors and threats. Seoul said "both concurred on closely collaborating" to address the issue.

Cho also highlighted the active involvement of Korean companies in Equatorial Guinea's ley infrastructure construction projects including Bata International Airport and Mongomo water and sewerage facilities. Cho expressed the expectation that such collaborations will pave the way for further expansion in bilateral economic cooperation.

In response, Esono Angue expressed optimism that more Korean companies would be able to expand into the country, citing Equatorial Guinea's high expectations for Korean firms with outstanding technology and capabilities, according to Seoul.

First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun (left) pays a courtesy call on Kenyan President William Ruto at his office in Kenya on Monday. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

South Korea has intensified its efforts to garner support from African countries. First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun has been dispatched as a special presidential envoy for the Korea-Africa summit to Kenya and Mauritius from Monday to Thursday.

Kim paid a courtesy visit to Kenyan President William Ruto on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul said Wednesday.

During the meeting, Kim "expressed expectations for support from Kenya and the attendance of President Ruto, explaining that the Korea-Africa summit will serve as an opportunity to upgrade not only cooperative relations between Korea and Africa but also bilateral ties."

"In response, President Ruto expressed his wish for a successful hosting of the summit, acknowledging the significance of the Korea-Africa summit," according to Seoul.

Kim also conveyed South Korea's aspirations to further enhance the mutually friendly and cooperative relationship across various sectors, commemorating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

In response, Ruto articulated his desire to strengthen cooperation with South Korea, across multiple fields, encompassing trade, investment, education, infrastructure and agriculture, according to the Foreign Ministry in Seoul.