New step to improve Korea-Georgia relations

Georgia has opened a new door in collaboration with Korea, as the country has followed very active diplomacy, especially from 2017 until today, to achieve a perfect relationship. Georgian Ambassador to Korea Otar Berdzenishvili has accomplished a series of missions to introduce his own country from several aspects during his term. As one of the youngest and hardworking diplomats in Seoul, his smart initiatives drew the attention of all Koreans.
Georgia has a very prominent and strategic location at the heart of the Caucasus region. Sharing borders with Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan makes this country unique in the case of economy and transportation projects. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia has become home to various major regional and international projects.

Since the 1990s, the country has taken part in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Natural Gas Pipeline, one of the most significant energy projects which connect Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in transferring Caspian energy sources to the world. Additionally, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway in which Georgia became an essential partner was completed in late 2017. The 846 kilometers of the railway connects Azerbaijani, Georgian and Turkish railways and links to European and Asian railways. Up to 6 million tons of cargo and one million passengers will be carried every year. This railway has a good chance of becoming a significant way from China to Europe.

At this point, this country presents a high level of confidence for foreign investors. The close relationship with the European Union and NATO is another plus for Georgia to strengthen its importance. A respectful approach to global democratic values and cooperation-first policies put this country in a specific position.

The country provides an opportunity for wider regional economic activities which mean over than 500 million buyers. Obtaining a strategic port near the Black Sea and close to the Caspian Sea makes Georgia a bridge between Asia and Europe. Moreover, the country has successfully established a strong democracy within a short period. We can see this clear difference when we compare the situation with other former-Soviet countries. Thus, the country side is also guaranteeing human rights and free economic activities. Investor-friendly regulations attract foreigners to visit and live in the country without any difficulty. A safe economic environment with zero problems is most important for investors. So, Georgia is one of the safest countries for business.

Ambassador Berdzenishvili designed a motto to describe the bilateral relations with Korea when he began his work in Seoul. He said “More Korea in Georgia and more Georgia in Korea” as the principal motivational source for his mission. Creating a bridge with a faraway country is an extremely challenging job. Particularly, discovering common ground and having a sustainable friendship requires ability. Therefore, the embassy focuses on educational and cultural cooperation between the countries by promoting the unique values of both sides. Georgian wine and spring water come first in the exchange of introducing Korean kimchi to the country. Georgia’s wine exports have reached 80 million bottles and 20% is going to Far Eastern countries.

In March 2019, Georgia and Korea signed a pact on economic cooperation. According to the agreement, both sides want to improve relations in all spheres of trade, industry, tourism and other fields. Officials plan to set up a joint committee for implementing this. The scope of the bilateral economy will grow, and Korea will expand the presence of Korean companies in Georgia. On the other side, Georgia is taking a new position for tourism ventures. Seven direct charter flights between Tbilisi and Seoul will begin in 2019.

This initiative is a notable step in relations. Particularly, the Korean approach towards Central Asia and the Caucasus has substantial elements. The country has successfully established the Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum after several initiatives among regional countries. Currently, the region receives an enormous number of Korean projects without any hesitation because Korean foreign policy has a peaceful motivation with a win-win perspective. Now, Georgia is a new destination for Korean investment. In this regard, Georgian Ambassador Berdzenishvili’s great efforts will create strong ties between the two states.

Mehmet Fatih Oztarsu – The Korea Times

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