Park’s Peru stop is dedicated to business deals

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Park’s Peru stop is dedicated to business deals

President Park Geun-hye held a summit with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in Lima on Monday and concluded 20 memorandums of understanding in areas including healthcare, telemedicine and water management.

Inking the telemedicine agreement was seen as an opportunity for Korea to gain a foothold in Latin America’s growing health and medical service industry.

“The health and medical care market in Central and South America comes in third for the largest growth following the Middle East-Africa and Eastern Europe regions,” said Ahn Jong-beom, the senior presidential secretary for economic affairs. “One of the most significant results of the visit to Peru is the MoU on telemedicine to help secure a foothold in the healthcare market.”

Telemedicine services enable medical diagnosis and treatment through ICT, enabling doctors to consult with patients via computer or mobile phone, but is currently controversial in Korea as a National Assembly bill has not yet been passed to amend the domestic medical law.

Medical diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine systems offers benefits to patients in remote areas, the elderly and handicapped, not to mention those with chronic diseases.

The Blue House said that the 20 MoUs concluded during the visit will provide Korea an entryway into Peru’s infrastructure market expected to be worth $100 billion in investments by 2021.

Joint infrastructure projects in the works with Korea include building a petrochemical complex worth $13.3 billion, constructing Lima Metro’s Line No. 3 and 4 worth $10 billion and the Rimac River restoration project worth $700 million. These projects can amount to a total of 29 trillion won.

The president’s visit also is anticipated to mark the launching of Korea Aerospace Industries basic trainers, the KT-1P, assembled in Peru for its Air Force.

Park also took time to reach out to overseas Korean nationals and fans of Korean culture.

There are 124 clubs dedicated to K-Pop registered with the Korean Embassy in Peru, bringing together some 30,000 to 50,000 fans of Korean pop music and culture.

Park and the group of Hallyu fans exchanged dialogue about Korean food. To one Peruvian attendee who professed love for Korean food, especially kimchi, the president mentioned samgyeopsal, or sliced pork belly.

She was presented by the Hallyu fans with a llama doll, native to Peru, and a silver brooch.

Park also met with 100 Korean nationals in Lima, holding a dinner and press conference. She emphasized her hope that the Korean citizens can serve as informal diplomats.

Park’s four-nation visit to Latin America started off with Colombia on Friday as part of her efforts to expand economic cooperation with Latin America. Between Tuesday and Thursday, she will visit Chile. Brazil will be her final stop, until April 25. She will return to Seoul on April 27.

BY SHIN YONG-HO, SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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