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Kazakh Ambassador to Korea Nurgali Arystanov speaks  during an interview with The Korea Times, May 27. Korea Times photo by Choi Won-suk

As anticipation builds for the upcoming summit between President Yoon Suk Yeol and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, set to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 12, Kazakh Ambassador to Korea Nurgali Arystanov provided comprehensive insights into the significance, agenda and potential outcomes of the high-profile talks during an interview with The Korea Times, May 27.

“Kazakhstan and Korea are enjoying a very friendly relationship with an enhanced strategic partnership at the highest level,” Arystanov said. “We share this level of cooperation with only a few countries and Korea is one of our most important strategic partners.”

The summit’s agenda will focus on three main areas: political dialogue, economic and commercial investment cooperation and people-to-people ties.

The summit will provide a platform to enhance diplomatic relations and explore new avenues for cooperation on regional and global issues. The C5+K platform, 추천 which facilitates dialogue between Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Korea, will be a key topic of discussion.

The summit will aim to identify new opportunities for commercial and investment partnerships. The discussion will also touch on expanding trade, with an emphasis on diversifying the range of Kazakh products in the Korean market.

“We will discuss the C5+K platform for Central Asia-Korea dialogue, major economic projects like Hyundai’s car plant and cultural exchanges, including the increasing popularity of Korean street food and K-pop in Kazakhstan,” Arystanov said.

Economic cooperation stands as a cornerstone of the Korean-Kazakh partnership. Trade turnover between the two countries reached an impressive $6 billion last year, marking a significant milestone.

“Korea is Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest trade partner and the fifth-largest foreign investor,” Arystanov said. “So big companies like Kia, Samsung, Hyundai, Shinhan Bank and many others have opened their facilities in Kazakhstan.”

The ambassador highlighted that Kazakhstan is set to see substantial growth in the presence of CU convenience stores, with an initial 10 stores planned for Almaty and over 500 stores expected to open nationwide in the coming years.

“This is a huge opportunity for us to introduce our consumers to Korean products, including K-pop merchandise,” the ambassador said. “Through these CU stores, our people will be exposed to Korean products, culture, tastes and more. It’s going to be a wonderful give-and-take and a mutual cultural enrichment.”

Arystanov noted that Korean culture in Kazakhstan, particularly among the youth is evident saying, “All our youngsters are very fond of Korea” and that K-pop and K-goods are at their peak popularity as well as Korean street food, which is becoming increasingly popular in Kazakhstan.

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