South Korea's Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and his Uzbek counterpart agreed on Friday to expand ties to make the two countries strategic partners down the road.
During the visit, the two countries decided to settle unpaid transactions to South Korean firms currently operating in Uzbekistan.
"I am glad that the two countries' strategic alliance continues to develop," Hwang said in talks with the Uzbek's premier, Shavkat Mirziyoyev. "We hope that Uzbekistan will continue to help South Korean firms make inroads into industrial areas including methanol and petrochemical production, as well as solar generation."
"Uzbekistan is posting an annual economic growth of 8 percent, and is speeding up efforts to modernize its industry," Hwang said.
"We give high marks to Uzbekistan's potential to emerge as the transportation hub of Central Asia by fostering export industries."
Mirziyoyev echoed the view, adding South Korea stands as an important partner for investment and technology exchanges. He also expressed a deep interest in the Surgil project.
The Surgil project, launched by a South Korean consortium and Uzbekistan's state-run oil firm, calls for joint production of natural gas and chemical goods. The endeavor has become a symbol of cooperation as the two countries join forces in producing value-added goods.
Hwang then asked his counterpart to lend support to South Korea's stance on the North Korean nuclear issue. The Uzbek prime minister made clear the country will not tolerate the development of nuclear weapons by Pyongyang.
At an event hosted by Mirziyoyev later in the day, Hwang highlighted the long-standing friendship that exists between the two countries.
"Seoul will continue to help Tashkent's efforts to diversify and modernize its industries, and to carry out state-wide development plans," the top policymaker said.
The prime minister pointed out that a project like the Surgil venture is a successful role model that can be emulated in the future. He vowed to roll out similar joint measures to further bolster ties between the two countries. (Yonhap)