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(LEAD) Park holds first summit at home with Uganda's president

All Headlines 15:42 May 30, 2013

(ATTN: UPDATES with quotes in paras 5-8, ADDS photo)

SEOUL, May 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye held economic cooperation talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday, her first summit at home since taking office that underscores the importance she attaches to bolstering ties with resources-rich Africa.

Museveni arrived on Wednesday for a three-day visit, becoming the first foreign head of state to visit South Korea for summit talks with Park since she took office in February. Another African leader, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, is also scheduled to visit Seoul next week for a summit with Park.

Officials said Park attaches high importance to seeking economic cooperation with the continent that is rich in oil and other resources and has high economic growth potential. Africa is often called the "last growth engine" of the globe.

Park said Monday that South Korea should focus its assistance to African countries on providing them with what is really necessary for their self-support and economic development. Sharing South Korea's economic development experiences and know-how would be one such way.

On Thursday, Park and Museveni discussed ways to bolster trade and investment, energy and resources cooperation, and development cooperation between Uganda and South Korea, as well as other regional and global issues, officials said.

"I believe the new growth engine in the 21st century is Africa and Uganda's amazing development is a telling symbol of this," Park said at the start of the summit. "I was happy to hear that President Museveni has often mentioned South Korea's case when speaking of Uganda's blueprint for the future. I hope to actively share these development experiences."

Museveni said he has respect for the achievements of Park's father, former President Park Chung-hee, who is credited by supporters with lifting South Korea from poverty. He said he witnessed the elder Park's achievement when he was working as a student politician.

He also invited Park to visit the African nation.

After the summit, the foreign ministers of the two countries signed a framework agreement on grant aid aimed at helping Uganda draw up strategies for its agricultural processing industry.

Museveni's trip also includes visits to the state-run Rural Development Administration, the Korea Saemaul Undong Center and industrial facilities. The "Saemaul Undong" was a government-led campaign South Korea carried out nationwide to pull itself from poverty in the 1970s under then President Park Chung-hee.

Museveni is also scheduled to hold a dinner reception with Korean business leaders.

Uganda's economy has grown an average of 7 percent annually over the past decade as the country has gained political stability after Museveni came to power in 1986. The country has also emerged as a resources power recently after the discovery of oil reserves in the country's west.

South Korean firms have been trying to take part in road, power plant and other infrastructure projects.

The two countries forged diplomatic relations in 1963 and their two-way trade volume amounted to US$8.2 billion last year.

jschang@yna.co.kr
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