South Korea Interested in IT Development in Estonia’s Public Sector
Eestlased Eestis 12 Jan 2010  EWR
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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, who is on a visit to the Republic of Korea, discussed the development of political, economic, science and information technology co-operation between Estonia and South Korea with South Korean Foreign and Trade Minister Yu Myung-hwan.

During their meeting, the foreign minister of the Republic of Korea was first and foremost interested in the utilisation of information technology in the Estonian public sector. Foreign Minister Urmas Paet stated that there is a great deal of untapped potential in economic and trade relations between Estonia and South Korea. “Areas of economic co-operation that are of interest to our entrepreneurs are the logistics and transport sector and information technology. The agreement for the avoidance of double taxation we signed with Korea in September provides extra security for the development of economic relations,” said Paet.

According to Paet, the information technology sector could also provide an opportunity for Estonia and South Korea to co-operate in development co-operation. “Estonian experts already have a lot of experience with developing and implementing e-government in Eastern European and Southern Caucasus countries. South Korea also helps many nations make their public administration more effective, so there are significant points of overlap here,” said the Estonian foreign minister. Paet explained to Myung-hwan how e-voting and e-government work.

In talking about academic co-operation between the countries, Paet and Myung-hwan agreed that contacts between Estonian and South Korean universities are developing successfully. “We are interested in expanding higher educational and research co-operation with Korea,” said Foreign Minister Paet. He added that Estonian universities could also be good co-operation partners for South Korean technology companies.

Paet and Myung-hwan also discussed the situation in Afghanistan. The South Korean foreign minister stated that they plan to once again send additional civil experts as well as soldiers to Afghanistan. Paet gave his South Korean colleague an overview of Estonia’s military and civil contribution to developing the health care system in Helmand Province.

The foreign ministers also discussed the situation in North Korea and matters related to its nuclear programme. South Korean Foreign Minister Myung-hwan gave an overview of the most recent developments in relations with North Korea. Foreign Minister Paet said that North Korea’s nuclear programme is a threat to the entire world. “It is also absurd how a nation with a starving population is spending enormous sums on its nuclear programme. The UN Security Council’s sanctions against North Korea for stopping the nuclear programme are an unfortunate necessity,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet also met with South Korean Deputy Minister of Energy and Information Technology Cho Seok, which whom he discussed co-operation opportunities in the IT sector. Korea is known as one of the world’s most internet-using nations. Korea is interested in Estonia’s information technology-related development and the NATO Cyber Defence Centre working in Estonia. “South Korean experts are welcome to come and become acquainted with the work of the Cyber Defence Centre,” said Paet.

Foreign Minister Paet also visited the Samsung Electronics factory and met with its directors. Samsung products make up 23% of South Korea’s exports.

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