(LEAD) Yoon meets ethnic Koreans in Kazakhstan

ASTANA, President Yoon Suk Yeol arrived in Astana on Tuesday for a three-day state visit aimed at bolstering economic ties and cooperation in supply chains for critical minerals with Kazakhstan.

Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee flew from Turkmenistan on the second leg of his Central Asia trip.

Upon arrival, Yoon met with ethnic Koreans and overseas residents in Kazakhstan and vowed to provide necessary support for their community.

In the late 1930s, thousands of Koreans living in Russia’s Far East were deported to Central Asia, supposedly to prevent Japanese espionage.

About 120,000 ethnic Koreans live in the territory of Kazakhstan, who maintain Korean customs and traditions and play a bridging role between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Yoon will hold a summit with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The two leaders plan to sign a memorandum of understanding to deepen their strategic partnership and issue a joint press statement, the presidential office said.

In an interview published in Kazakh
newspapers, Yoon said the talks will focus on ways to bolster cooperation in the economy, technology, environment, agriculture and other areas.

Cooperation on the supply chain of critical minerals is expected to top the agenda as Kazakhstan is a major oil producer and holds large reserves of key minerals, such as uranium and chromium.

Yoon will depart for Uzbekistan on Thursday, the final leg of his three-nation Central Asia trip aimed at enhancing engagement and economic ties with the resource-rich nations.

Source: Yonhap News Agency