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Park to visit Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan this week

All Headlines 10:46 June 15, 2014

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye is scheduled to visit Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan this week to promote her vision for a united Eurasia and expand economic cooperation with the Central Asian nations.

The six-day trip starting Monday comes as Park seeks to forge closer ties with Eurasian nations to create what could become a huge single market rivaling the European Union.

Her "Eurasia initiative" especially calls for linking roads and railways across the continent to create a "Silk Road Express," connecting South Korea to Europe via North Korea, Russia and China.

On the first leg of her trip, Park will visit Uzbekistan from June 16-18 and hold summit talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov in the country's capital Tashkent, according to South Korea's presidential office.

The two sides are expected to discuss a wide range of political, economic and social issues, including ongoing joint projects in the gas and thermoelectric power plant sectors.

On June 18, Park will also visit Uzbekistan's second-largest city of Samarkand, known for its central position on the former "Silk Road" trade route between China and the Mediterranean, the presidential office said.

From Uzbekistan, Park is scheduled to fly to Kazakhstan for a three-day trip and hold summit talks with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev in the capital Astana.

The summit is expected to focus on ways to expand bilateral cooperation to new sectors, such as science and technology, forestry and the environment, in addition to the two countries' ongoing joint projects to build a coal-fired power plant and a petrochemical complex in the Central Asian country.

Kazakhstan is the largest destination of South Korean investment among Central Asian nations, with more than 250 South Korean firms operating there, the presidential office said.

On the final leg of her trip, Park will spend two days in Turkmenistan as the first South Korean president to visit the country.

She is scheduled to hold summit talks with the country's president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, to discuss joint cooperation projects between the two nations and ways to support South Korean firms operating there.

A growing number of South Korean enterprises have begun to do business in Turkmenistan since 2009, leading to expectations that Park's visit will serve as an opportunity to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, the presidential office said.

hague@yna.co.kr
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