MUSCAT -- A senior Omani official on Tuesday proposed a preliminary deal with South Korea to create a smart city in a special economic zone in his country, the South's prime minister said.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said that Asa'ad bin Tariq Al Said, the Omani deputy prime minister for international relations and cooperation affairs, made the proposal for the development in Duqm, a port town in the country's central-eastern area.
Oman is the third and final leg of Lee's weeklong trip to Africa and the Middle East that included stops in Kenya and Tanzania. The main purpose of his trip is to bolster economic and business ties with the countries.
The special economic zone in Duqm is being developed to diversify Oman's national economy. It houses eight main areas, including a port, an oil refinery and the residential, commercial and tourism area, according to the website of Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority.
"The two countries have developed cooperation in the energy sector. South Korea hopes to join Oman's long-term national development projects," Lee said after holding a meeting with Oman's deputy prime minister.
"In particular, we hope that South Korea can become the main partner in developing the special economic zone in Duqm," he said.
The prime minister voiced hope that South Korean firms can participate in projects in many areas, including the petrochemical industry, electricity and smart cities.
Lee said that Oman has three competitive edges in drawing foreign investment, citing its political stability, geopolitical location and simple processes for customs clearance.
In response, Oman's deputy prime minister said that Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has raised the need to consider giving South Korean firms priority in joining development projects in Oman. (Yonhap)