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(LEAD) Parliamentary leaders agree to boost Korea-Kazakhstan cooperation

All Headlines 19:25 March 13, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS details in para last 4 paras)

ASTANA, March 13 (Yonhap) -- The parliamentary leaders of South Korea and Kazakhstan on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on strengthening bilateral cooperation in politics, trade, science, culture and other areas, Seoul officials said.

The signing came during a meeting between South Korean National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and his Kazakhstani counterpart Nurlan Zairullayevich Nigmatulin in the Central Asian country's capital, Astana. Chung arrived here earlier this week as part of a nine-day trip that also took him to India.

The MOU calls for enhanced cooperation between the two countries' legislatures and information exchange on legislative activities and parliamentary procedures. The two also agreed to send parliamentary delegations to each other's country.

During their talks, Chung voiced hopes that Kazakhstan can achieve its goal of becoming one of the world's top 30 advanced countries by 2050.

"With its stable national leadership, development, rich resources and education, Kazakhstan can surely attain the goal," Chung said. "South Korea wants to work together as a crucial partner in the process of achieving that goal."

Nigmatulin described South Korea as one of the most crucial strategic partners in East Asia, and noted that, should South Korean President Moon Jae-in pay a visit to the country, it would greatly help develop the overall bilateral relationship.

The two legislative chiefs also touched on the long-standing nuclear standoff with North Korea.

"We are pursuing the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons not only on the Korean Peninsula but also across the entire world," Nigmatulin said. "We have this position that the nuclear issue can be settled only through negotiations."

Chung then expressed his appreciation for Kazakhstan's advocacy for denuclearization.

Later in the day, Chung also met Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev and shared his vision on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Praising Kazakhstan's decision to give up nukes earlier in 1990s, Chung expressed hope that the anticipated dialogue between the two Koreas will pave the way for the denuclearization of Pyongyang.

Nazarbayev echoed that view, claiming that Kazakhstan has been setting an example to North Korea of how a country can maintain itself without nukes.

"After we gave up nukes, many countries invested on our country," Nazarbayev said. He claimed the nation receives 80 percent of the foreign investment made in the Central Asian region.

National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun (2nd from L) visits a theater in Kazakhstan during his visit to the Central Asian country on March 11, 2018, in this photo provided by his office. (Yonhap)


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