S Korea: Park's visit to Iran to boost bilateral ties

SEOUL, Apr. 27 (MNA) – President Park Geun-hye's landmark visit to Iran could boost relations between the two countries, an official said Wednesday.

The trip, set for Sunday through Wednesday, is part of South Korea's push to tap business opportunities in Iran following the lifting of international sanctions earlier this year.

Iran is pushing large-scale infrastructure development projects to rebuild its economy that was hampered by international sanctions.

Park is set to meet with her Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on Monday, the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1962.

"We expect the trip to serve as an occasion to take a new leap forward on bilateral ties, which have been stalled due to the international sanctions,”Kim Kyou-hyun, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, told reporters.

The sanctions imposed on Iran over its disputed nuclear program have been lifted in a follow-up to a nuclear deal reached with the United States and five world powers.

Park and Rouhani are expected to exchange opinions on how to further deepen economic cooperation, Kim said.

Seoul is also pushing for Park’s meeting with Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office.

South Korea is pushing to expand its economic cooperation with Iran beyond construction to health, culture, information and communication technology.

In a sign of growing interest toward Iran, more than 230 South Korean business executives and leaders are set to accompany the president on her visit to the Middle East country to explore new business opportunities.

The business delegation, which is the largest ever, includes Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor.

The trade volume between Korea and Iran stood at US$6.1 billion in 2015, compared with $17.4 billion in 2011.

Iran boasts the world's fourth-largest known crude oil deposits and ranks No. 1 in natural gas reserves.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, becoming the first foreign leader to travel to Tehran following the lifting of the sanctions.




News Code 116165


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      The heart knows...