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S. Korea, Mongolia talk economic, civilian ties

Prime ministers and foreign ministers of South Korea and Mongolia held talks here Thursday, discussing how to improve their economic ties and better cooperate in easing tensions on the peninsula, the Seoul government said.

Meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kim Hwang-sik, Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold expressed “solid support” about Seoul’s planned investment in developing mineral resources in his country and agreed on taking active measures to expand economic cooperation.

In a joint press release, the two countries also agreed to positively consider forging a free trade deal, expand cooperation on education, construction, energy, farming and green growth, and increase cultural exchanges.

Mongolia also expressed support about Seoul’s policies toward North Korea, echoing demand that the communist state must give up its nuclear facilities based on a U.N. Security Council resolution and its previous pledge made during the six-nation talks.

South Korea will continue and increase financial support to Mongolia for development particularly in the fields of medical and environment, the Prime Minister’s Office said. 
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik (right) shakes hands with his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaatar Batbold prior to their talks at his office Thursday. (Yonhap News)
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik (right) shakes hands with his Mongolian counterpart Sukhbaatar Batbold prior to their talks at his office Thursday. (Yonhap News)

Meeting with Mongolian Foreign Minister Gombojav Zandanshatar, South Korea’s Kim Sung-hwan discussed policies toward North Korea, exchange of senior officials and financial development, the Foreign Ministry said in a separate press release.

The two senior officials were among the Mongolian delegation visiting here to mark the “Year of Mongolians in Korea.” The delegation will leave the country Friday after attending an ceremony marking the year, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Forging diplomatic ties in March 1990, Mongolia and South Korea have been increasing economic cooperation, particularly in the energy sector, within the recent years.

Earlier this week, the two countries signed a preliminary pact calling for cooperation in a clean coal development project aimed at improving energy efficiency of the fossil fuel resource.

Under the agreement, South Korea will transfer technology related to upgrading coal quality used for heating and power generation, and help developing coal and other minerals in the resources-rich country.

Several local companies, including Korea Gas Corp., Korea Coal Corp., POSCO and SK Innovation Ltd. are interested in developing resources in Mongolia, a government source said.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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