Korea Signs MOU for Postwar Reconstruction in Ukraine

      September 19, 2023 11:25

      Korea has gained a foothold in postwar reconstruction of war-torn Ukraine with Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong signing a memorandum of understanding for reconstruction projects with the governor of the southern city of Mykolaiv, Vitaliy Kim.
      "One of the big successes we've achieved in our visit to Ukraine is that we've gained a foothold in Mykolaiv Oblast to participate in Ukraine's postwar reconstruction," Won told the Chosun Ilbo on Monday. "Governor Kim is of Korean origin and very close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy."
      "Zelenskyy and future Ukrainian political leaders are hoping for Korea's active participation in Ukraine's reconstruction," he added.
      Won led a large Korean delegation of officials and executives from 18 public organizations and private companies on a recent visit to Ukraine.
      Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Won Hee-ryong (right) speaks with Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim in Ukraine on Sept. 14. /Courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
      Mykolaiv is close to the Crimea and needs urgent postwar reconstruction as it was hit by air raid from Russia several times. A fourth-generation Korean Ukrainian, Kim worked as chief campaign manager in the Mykolaiv region for Zelenskyy during the presidential election and is even mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.
      Won predicted that the positive feelings Ukrainians have towards Korea will serve as an advantage. "The second most studied foreign language after English in Ukraine is Korean. The competition rate for Korean majors in the college entrance exam is also very high."
      Korea is considered a role model for economic development among many young Ukrainians as well as Ukrainian leaders, he added.
      In a meeting with Won, Zelenskyy proposed that Ukraine develop a lithium mine, the core material for secondary batteries, with Korea and others.
      Won said his "One Team Korea" initiative, whereby the government, public corporations and private companies work together, gives Korea an advantage in reconstruction projects.
      "It will be difficult for China, a Russian ally, to come into the Ukrainian market," he added, "so we'll be able to avoid unnecessary competition with Chinese companies."
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