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(LEAD) S. Korean PM seeks cooperation with Europe in energy sector

All Headlines 18:36 November 05, 2012

(ATTN: CHANGES slug; RECASTS headline/lead; ADDS Kim's bilateral talks with Bulgaria/Poland, remarks during ASEM session, photos)

VIENTIANE, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik met with several of his European counterparts Monday while visiting Laos to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), discussing ways to further cooperation on nuclear and renewable energy.

Kim met with his Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen to explore ways to boost cooperation in atomic power after the two nations signed a preliminary deal in May in Finland to expand cooperation in the nuclear energy field and to ensure peaceful use of atomic energy.

"I expect a preliminary atomic cooperation agreement between the two countries to be officially signed and take effect in the near future," Kim said during the meeting held on the sidelines of ASEM, which kicked off Monday in the Laos capital for a two-day run.

The agreement is expected to help South Korean businesses gain easier access to the Finnish atomic power industry, which is technologically advanced in terms of nuclear waste disposal and nuclear safety, according to Seoul officials.

Finland currently has four nuclear power plants in operation, with one under construction and two more planned for the future. South Korea's state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power is currently bidding for a contract to build a sixth reactor.

If signed, the nuclear energy accord with Finland will become South Korea's 28th, following similar agreements with the United States, Canada, Australia, and other nations.

Kim then sat down for talks with Bulgarian President Rosen Asenov Plevneliev, during which both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in developing new renewable energy sources including solar-light power generation, his office said.

During talks with Polish Prime Minister Donald Franciszek Tusk, the two sides agreed to cooperate in the construction of nuclear power plants and infrastructure, according to the office.

Kim also asked for the Polish government's support for some 140 South Korean companies operating in the European country, the office added.

Speaking during the ASEM's first session held earlier in the day, Kim presented South Korea's achievements in its environment-friendly growth drive, including the official launch of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) as an international organization, and winning the right to host the secretariat of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in the western city of Songdo last month.

"The South Korean government will strive to support the GCF Secretariat and the GGGI so that they help developing countries' efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to better adjust to climate change," Kim said.

Vowing to continue Seoul's role as a bridge between developed and developing countries for the world's environment-friendly growth, he also expressed hope for green growth to serve "as a new paradigm for economic development in Asia and Europe," according to his office.
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