Korea, Qatar to boost economic cooperation

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Korea, Qatar to boost economic cooperation

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President Park Geun-hye and Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani shake hands yesterday during a meeting at the Blue House. [NEWSIS]

President Park Geun-hye expressed her wish yesterday during a meeting with Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani at the Blue House to elevate economic cooperation between Korea and Qatar to go beyond energy and construction.

“Your visit to Korea is especially meaningful in that both countries celebrate the 40th year of diplomatic ties this year,” President Park told the Qatar ruler during the meeting. “[Korea and Qatar] have been maintaining tight relationships in the fields of energy and construction, and I believe we could develop mutual progress in various fields beyond the two - medical and health, national defense and information communication.”

Qatar’s monarch was on a state visit to Seoul. The king has visited Korea three times before.

As the oil-rich country prepares to build infrastructure associated with its hosting of the 2022 World Cup, the Korean government is seeking to win orders for some of those projects.

Several Korean companies are currently vying to earn a $15 billion order for a long-distance railroad; a $14 billion order for ordinary roads and sewage disposal facilities; a $6 billion order for the Doha Crossing, a set of three interconnected bridges spanning almost 10 kilometers in Doha Bay; and a $6 billion order for the World Cup stadium, according to the Blue House.

Combined, the orders may amount to $41 billion, or 40 percent of the estimated size of all the infrastructure construction projects. The leaders of both countries also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a business venture to jointly advance into a third country.

The MOU relates to Turkey’s $14 billion project to establish a coal-powered power plant in the Afsin-Elbistan region, in which Korea will largely contribute its technologies and Qatar its experience of managing relevant capital.

The two national leaders also forged an MOU to expand cooperation in health industry that encompasses alternative medicine, medical equipment and technologies, diagnosis and treatment of chronic disease, policy research, eradication of epidemics and prevention of drug addiction.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]

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