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(LEAD) Joint excursion of leaders to Samarkand highlights S. Korea-Uzbekistan relations

Diplomacy 23:26 April 20, 2019

(ATTN: CHANGES dateline, headline, lead to highlight Moon's arrival in Samarkand; UPDATES with details of Moon's trip to the city; ADDS photo)

SAMARKAND, Uzbekistan, April 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Uzbekistan's historic city of Samarkand on Saturday for a joint excursion with his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, that highlighted the long history of the countries' bilateral relationship.

The trip came one day after Moon and Mirziyoyev agreed to upgrade their countries' relationship to a "special strategic partnership" in their bilateral summit held in Tashkent.

The leaders' trip to the hometown of Mirziyoyev came at a suggestion from the Uzbek leader, according to Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (second from L) and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev (third from L) pose for a photo with their wives in front of the Afrasiab wall painting, a 7th century fresco that depicts foreign dignitaries from Asian countries including Korea, during their joint excursion to Uzbekistan's ancient city of Samarkand on April 20, 2019. (Yonhap)

The highlight of the excursion was a visit to the Afrasiab Museum that houses a 7th century fresco depicting foreign dignitaries from three or four countries, including an ancient Korean dynasty.

Seoul and Tashkent established diplomatic ties in 1992. Their relationship was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2006.

Moon says the friendship between the two countries dates back hundreds of years.

"The Afrasiab wall painting in Samarkand depicts ancient Korean dignitaries. It is a proof that there had been exchange between the two countries from 1,500 years ago," he said earlier.

The South Korean president arrived in Uzbekistan on Thursday on a four-day state visit.

He will wrap up his visit to the country on Sunday to head for Kazakhstan, the third and last stop in his three-nation tour that earlier took him to Turkmenistan.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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