Speaker Kim meets with Hungarian counterpart Kövér
- Aug 10, 2023
- Speaker Kim notes rapid growth in bilateral trade, making ROK the largest investor in Hungary
- Speaker Kim mentions possible cooperation between the two countries’ businesses on Hungary’s decision to develop
small modular reactors
- Speaker Kövér expresses hopes of learning about Korea’s achievements and expects their economic exchange
to serve as a growth engine for bilateral relations
- Speaker Kövér pledges all-out efforts to support Busan’s bid to host World Expo 2030
The Republic of Korea’s Speaker of the National Assembly Kim Jin-pyo on June 19 met with his Hungarian counterpart László Kövér at the Assembly complex. The two speakers discussed strengthening bilateral economic and personnel exchange through measures such as study-abroad programs, as well as Hungary’s support for Busan’s bid to host World Expo 2030.Speaker Kim expressed gratitude for Hungary’s handling of the Budapest boat tragedy in 2019 that took the lives of Hungarians and Koreans, while underlining that “Hungary has great meaning to Korea, having been the first country in the former Eastern Bloc to forge diplomatic ties with the ROK [on February 1, 1989], representing Korea’s then-Northern Policy (policies for interaction with the Communist region).”
Kim then expressed appreciation for “Hungary’s early announcement [in September 2022] of support for Busan’s bid to host World Expo 2030,” and Speaker Kövér responded by saying he would do his utmost to support Busan’s drive to become the venue for the international event. “I hope that companies from both countries cooperate on the event, which will provide an opportunity to introduce Hungary’s high-level medical technology, medicine and medical supplies,” Kim added.
Speaker Kim noted that “Trade between the two nations has continually increased, from USD 2.97 billion in 2019 to USD 6.95 billion in 2022, and Korean companies have made large-scale investments in electric vehicles and batteries, making Korea the largest investor in Hungary during the 2019-2022 period.” He then expressed gratitude for Hungary’s efforts to support the European Commission’s approval of subsidies to Samsung SDI’s investment plan in Hungary.
Speaker Kövér mentioned the Hungarian government’s Eastern Opening policy, in place since 2010, in hopes of learning about the Republic of Korea’s achievements, which produced some of the biggest gains in Asia. As investment from Korean businesses has been very helpful, Hungary will continue to cooperate in implementing such investment, he said, adding that in line with European regulations, economic exchange will serve as the growth driver of the bilateral relationship.
Speaker Kövér wholeheartedly endorsed expanded trade between the two countries but also expressed hope that the trade imbalance would ease, given that imports from Korea made up the bulk of bilateral trade (USD 6.16 billion as of 2022). Speaker Kim responded by saying, “The trade imbalance has been caused by growing imports of machinery and raw materials in line with Korean companies’ expanding investment in Hungary. I think we can redress the imbalance to create a win-win situation by boosting Korean tourism to Hungary, increasing imports of advanced medical equipment, medicine, and medical supplies from Hungary to Korea, and together making forays into the Middle Eastern, African, Central and South American markets.”
In response to Kövér’s statement about Hungary’s efforts to reduce its energy dependence on overseas markets, Kim said: “South Korea is globally competitive in the development and construction of small modular reactor technology. If Hungary considers introducing or developing small modular reactors as part of its energy policy, we can forge a reciprocally beneficial alliance in which companies from both nations give and receive support.”
Kim said he expected personnel exchange and economic cooperation between the two countries to increase thanks to newly launched direct flights between Incheon and Budapest in October 2022, operated by Korean Air, while conveying hopes for more scholarship programs so that more talented young students can continue their overseas exchanges.
Speaker Kövér responded, “I also hope that such programs will expand for Korean students in the medical science field in Hungary, and that more [Koreans] will come here to study other fields.”
The two Speakers continued their dialogue over lunch, discussing ways to cooperate to achieve reciprocal development, such as the dissemination of Korean culture in Hungary, and sports and cultural exchanges.
Meeting attendees from the Hungarian side included National Assembly member László Horváth and Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Istvan Szerdahelyi. From the Korean side, attendees included National Assembly member and President of the Korea-Hungary Parliamentary Friendship Group Cho Eung-cheon; Chief of Staff to the Speaker Park Kyung-mee; Senior Secretary for Public Relations Ko Jae-hak; Ambassador Jeong Woon-jin; and Director General of the International Affairs and Protocol Bureau Hwang Seung-gi.