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S. Korea, Turkmenistan agree on flagship economic projects

ASHGABAT (Yonhap) – South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov agreed Friday on a pair of flagship economic projects expected to propel bilateral relations forward.

The joint projects are for the construction of a $2 billion gas-chemical plant in the Seydi District of Lebap Province in northeastern Turkmenistan, and a refinery of natural gas to liquid fuels such as kerosene and diesel, officials said. The gas-to-liquids project is worth $3 billion.

On the sidelines of the two leaders' summit talks in Ashgabat, the sides also signed agreements giving South Korea the right to sell $7 billion worth of chemical products and $750 million worth of sulfur from a joint chemical processing plant and a joint desulfurization facility, officials said.

Under another deal worth $100 million, Turkmenistan will buy

900 buses from South Korea between 2015 and 2020 as it prepares to host the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat in 2017.

Park arrived in Turkmenistan earlier in the day on the final leg of a six-day Central Asia tour that earlier took her to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

The main focus of the trip has been to expand bilateral cooperation with each country, especially in the energy sector, and to lay the groundwork for Park's "Eurasia initiative."

The initiative centers on building more infrastructure and freeing up trade between Eurasian nations to create what could become a large single market rivaling the European Union.

Park is the first South Korean president to visit Turkmenistan since the two sides established diplomatic ties in 1992.


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