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Korea, Turkmenistan boost energy, infrastructure ties

The leaders of South Korea and Turkmenistan agreed Monday to reinforce economic ties in energy, finance, policy and infrastructure to take their economic partnership to the next level.

At the summit in Seoul, President Park Geun-hye and visiting President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed agreements to enhance bilateral cooperation in energy development, financial support, policy infrastructure and public transport.

Under the agreement, the two countries are expected to expand support to Korean companies’ projects for building gas liquefaction plants and modernizing oil refineries, worth $4 billion (4.4 trillion won) and $1 billion, respectively, in Turkmenistan, which is home to the world’s fourth-largest gas reserves.

The agreement is a follow-up measure to the 2014 bilateral summit in Turkmenistan, where the presidents signed a memorandum of understanding to support the projects, according to officials. Korean companies ― a consortium of Hyundai Engineering Co. and LG International Co. ― are participating in the project.

The two also agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in steel plant construction. Daewoo International and POSCO Engineering & Construction signed a memorandum of understanding on the projects on the sidelines of the summit.

To enhance Korean companies’ financial support, the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation and The State Bank for Foreign Economic Affairs of Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of understanding on offering finances to Korean companies.

They also agreed to provide a robust environment for the companies to conduct business in the gas-rich nation and discussed ways to foster bilateral cooperation platforms on energy, trade, infrastructure and among others.

They also agreed that Korea will provide buses to Turkmenistan as the gas-rich nation will host Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat in 2017. They are expected to sign a deal by this June to provide 600 buses by 2017. In 2014, they agreed to provide 900 buses by 2020.

By Yeo Jun-suk (