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South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visits Kazakhstan today


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol visits Kazakhstan today

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol begins his state visit to Kazakhstan today.

The visit, hosted by Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, will last two days and heavily focus on trade between the two countries. On the second day of the visit, both Presidents are expected to attend a large business forum consisting of over 50 Korean and Kazakh companies.

Kazakhstan and South Korea are major trading partners. Korea relies heavily on Kazakh exports of raw materials like zinc, and Kazakhstan is one of the larger importers of Korean electronics. Trade between the two powers exceeded $6 billion in 2023.

The visit will yield several bilateral agreements that seek to remove trade barriers to boost trade yield for both countries. Korea views Central Asia broadly as its ticket to continued growth, as it can fill a large gap in energy production in countries like Kazakhstan. Building influence in the region through stronger economic ties will allow Korea to carve a larger role in politics in a region being pulled simultaneously by Russia, China, and the USA, though likely to the dismay of Russia. Kazakhstan stands to gain by adding another power in South Korea to its multi-vector approach to foreign affairs.

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