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Korea, Pakistan to expand development cooperation

President Lee Myung-bak and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari shake hands ahead of their summit at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Tuesday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
President Lee Myung-bak and Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari shake hands ahead of their summit at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Tuesday. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

Korea and Pakistan agreed on Tuesday to cooperate to develop hydropower generation, water resources and rail infrastructure in Pakistan.

Presidents Lee Myung-bak and Asif Ali Zardari also pledged to expand ties in economy, trade, energy and development during their summit in Seoul, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Zardari came here on Monday for an official three-day visit during which he is to meet Seoul officials and Korean business leaders to discuss the expansion of bilateral investment and trade.

During the talks, the Pakistani president expressed gratitude for Seoul’s official development assistance to his country and congratulated Lee on Seoul’s success in securing a non-permanent seat at the U.N. Security Council for the years 2013-14.

Recognizing that the two countries’ ties have deepened in various sectors since the opening of their diplomatic ties in 1983, the leaders praised two-way trade volume reaching $1.56 billion last year. Their trade dipped to $1.11 billion in 2009 due to the global economic crisis.

They also recognized South Korean companies’ increasing involvement in a variety of areas in Pakistan including construction, chemistry, steel and transport, Lee’s office said.

Following their summit, Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs and Pakistan’s railway ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on bilateral cooperation in the country’s railway development.

The two governments also signed an agreement on Seoul’s assistance to spur Pakistan’s social, economic development, strengthening Korea’s legal, institutional grounds for more systemized support to the country.

Separately, Bank of Korea Governor Kim Choong-soo and his Pakistani counterpart Yaseen Anwar signed a memorandum of understanding to share Seoul’s banking experience and technology with the country.

Under the MOU, the two banks are to strengthen their cooperation and expand joint research regarding currency policy and foreign currency reserves. The two will also dispatch some of their staff to each other to increase people-to-people exchanges.

Zardari is the first Pakistani president to visit Seoul since 2003 when former President Pervez Musharraf came here. He is the husband of late former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

By Song Sang-ho
(sshluck@heraldcorp.com)

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