South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon vowed on Sunday that his country will further expand trade and exchanges with Algeria on the basis of a 12-year-old bilateral strategic partnership.
Lee made the remarks after arriving in this northwestern African country on the first leg of his three-nation trip that will also take him to Tunisia and Morocco.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L) holds talks with his Algerian counterpart Ahmed Ouyahia in Algiers on Dec. 16, 2018. (Yonhap)
"I'm the first South Korean prime minister to visit Algeria, the sole African country that has a strategic partnership with our country. It's time to further strengthen the bilateral relationship," Lee said in a meeting with South Korean residents here.
"Twelve years have passed since the two countries formed strategic partnership during the presidency of Roh Moo-hyun. Human exchanges and trade have not been sufficient for that period, as Roh's diplomatic policy was not inherited by his successors," said Lee.
He then stressed that South Korea's government is now clearly determined to diversify its diplomacy and solidify relations with Algeria, particularly in human exchanges and trade.
The prime minister also visited a war memorial and an independence hall in Algiers together with his Algerian counterpart, Ahmed Ouyahia.
Lee's trip is aimed at promoting economic ties with the three African nations, especially for Korean companies operating there, according to his office.
Lee and his delegation flew on the presidential jet as President Moon Jae-in has encouraged him to use it for overseas trips. (Yonhap)