By Seleshi Tessema and Abebech Tamene
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) - South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye on Friday pledged assistance for Africa, also urging the continent’s leaders to give full support to her country’s attempt to denuclearize North Korea.
The remarks came during her visit to African Union Headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the first stop on her 12-day, four-nation tour to Africa and France to boost bilateral ties.
“Korea faces a serious security threat caused by North Korea’s nuclear program” she said. “I ask for your cooperation in urging North Korea to give up its nuclear program.”
She expressed gratitude to African countries for “strongly condemning the North’s provocations and joining collective global efforts for the denuclearization of North Korea.”
Park arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday and met with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding which includes measures on defense training and technology transfers.
Park, accompanied by some 200 business representatives and government officials, is also scheduled to visit Kenya and Uganda.
Park, describing her country’s engagement with Africa as a win-win partnership, offered to further assist Africa’s peacekeeping program.
“We are holding discussions with the AU and UN … to increase our financial contributions to the African Union Peace Fund.”
South Korea will also build a mobile clinic for African peacekeepers and maintain its peacekeepers deployed in South Sudan, she said.
- Educating young Africans
Over the next 5 years, 6,000 talented Africans will be offered education and training opportunities in either South Korea or Africa, and 4,000 Korean volunteers will be sent to Africa, she announced.
Furthermore, the president said, South Korea is considering establishing a technology innovation center in Africa.
African Union Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for her part, said that Africa was inspired by South Korea’s developmental state model, which she said had helped the country’s phenomenal rise.
“The developmental state model developed in South Korea and in other parts of East Asia is the basis of our aspirations,” she said.
The developmental model, favored by many African countries, has also been accused of excessive state intervention in the market and focusing on economic growth at the expense of freedom and liberty.
The president is next scheduled to proceed to Kenya and Uganda, and then to France.
Park took office in February 2013 after winning 2012 elections to become South Korea’s eleventh president.