Foreign affairs ministry responds to South Korean official’s concerns

THE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade (MFAFT) is expressing some concern about an article in the Jamaica Observer quoting an official of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) expressing disappointment regarding the status of a proposed cooperation agreement with Jamaica.

In a statement to media Sunday afternoon, MFAFT said the governments of Jamaica and the Republic of Korea enjoy excellent relations, which were reaffirmed by foreign ministers Park Jin and Kamina Johnson Smith during their recent bilateral meeting.

In relation to the Observer report, MFAFT said such draft agreements are never signed immediately as they are reviewed not only by the relevant departments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade — including its legal department — but also by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as may be relevant. Furthermore, the foreign ministry is always available for engagement on matters of this nature.

The statement added that in this case, the draft was received on March 29 and sent for review on March 30 and March 31. The statement said comments from the Ministry of Finance recommended that additional ministries also provide feedback, and those requests have been made and responses are being awaited.

This, according to the statement, is not an unusual process for any country, notwithstanding the importance of the cooperation offered.

Further, MFAFT said in this instance, in order to ensure that the matter receives ongoing attention, the ministry took the unusual step of communicating its internal legal feedback, as well as that of the Ministry of Finance and the PIOJ, to the Korean Foreign Ministry, despite the fact that other comments were outstanding.

Moreover, the MFAFT said it will continue to follow up with the remaining MDAs, which had in fact promised responses for this upcoming week, and maintains that it looks forward to continuing to advance the excellent work with our Korean partners.