Media Center

Press Release


  March 16, 2005

Korea’s entry as a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is being heralded as a new chapter that will be highly beneficial as much to the Bank as to the Republic of Korea itself, with the latter pledging to share more of its vast experience in poverty-reduction and economic development with Latin American and Caribbean countries.

This was underscored in remarks by IDB President Enrique Iglesias, Organization of American States (OAS) Acting Secretary General Luigi R. Einaudi, and Korea’s Ambassador to the United States Seok-Hyun Hong as they spoke today at IDB headquarters in Washington, where Korea’s IDB membership was formalized. Instruments were also signed for Korea’s membership of the IDB-affiliated Inter-American Investment Corporation and Multilateral Investment Fund.

Iglesias welcomed the new relationship, saying it opens a new chapter in the life of the Bank. He thanked Korea for its active engagement in IDB programs, including in science and technology, poverty-alleviation, and promotion of small and medium-size enterprises, noting as well the important opportunities for Korea in trade, tourism and investment in Latin America and the Caribbean—“a region rich in resources” and basically peaceful and hospitable.

The OAS is the depository for the agreement establishing the IDB and for the instruments of deposit and ratification, Einaudi noted as he praised Korea’s dynamic and invaluable “supportive presence” as an OAS permanent observer since 1981. He expressed confidence that “Korea will be as good and productive a member of the IDB as it has been of the OAS,” and commended the IDB as a development institution “that has been at the heart of the dream of the New World of the Western Hemisphere, really since that dream started being organized,” in 1889/1890 with the first American Conference.

With this “new chapter in Korea-Latin America and Caribbean relations,” Ambassador Seok-Hyun Hong said, he is confident his country’s entry as the IDB’s 47th member “will be a significant milestone in promoting mutually beneficial relationships.” He said his country, the world’s 12th largest trading economy and one of the five largest manufacturers of semi-conductors, ships and steel, is committed to helping poor countries break free from the lack of opportunity, education and resources.

Reference: E-048/05