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Yoon visits ancient Uzbek city, wraps up Central Asia trip

June 15, 2024 - 19:00 By Son Ji-hyoung
President Yoon Suk Yeol (second from left, front row) and first lady Kim Keon Hee (third from left, front row) disembarks from the Air Force One as they arrived at Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Saturday. (Yonhap)

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan -- President Yoon Suk Yeol visited ancient city of Samarkand before wrapping up the state visits to three Central Asian countries, according to the presidential office on Saturday.

Flying about 270 kilometers southwest of Uzbekistan's capital city Tashkent, Yoon and his counterpart, Uzbek President President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, visited historic sites of what served as the center of the Timurid Empire in the 14th century, such as a public square Registan and Gur-e-Amir, Turco-Mongol king Timur's mausoleum.

Yoon and Mirziyoyevalso went to Ulugh Beg Observatory, built in the 15th century and named after the Timurid astronomer. They also visited a mural of two figures presumed to be from Goguryeo Kingdom of ancient Korea, potentially indicating ties between South Korea and Uzbekistan had existed 1,400 years ago, during their visit to the Afrasiab Museum.

Later on Saturday, Yoon attended a social lunch in Samarkand. Mirziyoyev, who hosted the lunch, formerly served as the governor of the Samarkand region from 2001 to 2003.

Samarkand is one of the oldest inhabited city in the world.

This wrapped up Yoon's visit to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Yoon became the first South Korean leader to be on a Central Asia trip in five years after his predecessor Moon Jae-in did so. Yoon had previously met with his counterparts in these countries during the United Nations General Assembly in September.