Addis Ababa – South Korea’s president on Friday urged African leaders to support international efforts to denuclearize North Korea.
Speaking to the African Union in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, President Park Geun-hye said that she wants African “co-operation in urging North Korea to give up its nuclear programme”.
She also said her government will work with African countries to combat violent extremism.
Park said she was offering her country to be an “African companion” in development matters and presented a blueprint for Africa-South Korea relations that she hopes will boost trade, education and cultural co-operation.
“We will share various development experiences learned from our own trials and errors over the last half century,” Park said as she outlined her country’s policy toward Africa. “What Korea genuinely wishes to share with Africa, above all, is the ‘we can do it’ attitude …. Korea hopes to walk alongside Africa looking in the same direction.”
One of her proposed schemes is a two-way youth exchange programme in which 6 000 young Africans will be offered education and training opportunities in Africa or Korea and 4 000 Korean volunteers will be sent to Africa.
African Union Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Africa should look up to South Korea, which gained independence at the same time as many African countries.
“However, the fortunes of South Korea and our member states have not been the same,” Dlamini-Zuma said. “The developmental state model developed in South Korea and in other parts of East Asia is the basis of our aspirations.”
Park’s visit to the African Union is the first for a South Korean leader. She arrived in Ethiopia on Wednesday and met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. She is also scheduled to visit Uganda and Kenya.