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S. Korea pushes to win huge projects in Qatar ahead of 2022 World Cup.

All News 16:27 November 05, 2014

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye asked Qatar's emir on Wednesday to allow South Korean companies to participate in huge infrastructure projects in the Gulf state as the two countries pledged to boost bilateral cooperation in health care and other issues.

Park made the request to Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is in Seoul on a state visit to South Korea, according to her office.

Qatar is expected to place orders worth about US$100 billion in coming years to launch infrastructure and other huge construction projects to prepare for the 2022 World Cup.

South Korean construction companies are seeking to clinch some of the deals in the oil-rich Gulf emirate amid a prolonged property market slump in South Korea.

Also Wednesday, the two leaders observed the signing of a series of memorandums of understanding after their summit in the presidential office in Seoul.

The visit by Qatar's emir "could become an important milestone in developing bilateral relations, Park said at the start of the summit, adding that the two sides can develop ties in health care, defense and information and communication technology beyond energy and construction.

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani also expressed hope that his visit could help bilateral relations.

The MOUs call for, among other things, cooperation on a wide range of issues, including health and information and communication technology.

Qatar's health authorities have said that they would consult with their South Korean counterparts on a contract on sending Qatari people to South Korea for medical treatment after signing a memorandum of understanding on health.

South Korea has emerged in recent years as one of the most-favored destinations for foreigners who seek medical treatment.

In 2013, more than 3,500 people from the Middle East visited South Korea on medical tours, up 54 percent from the previous year, according to data released by South Korea's presidential office.

In June, Seoul National University Hospital, one of South Korea's top medical centers, was selected as the consignment manager of the Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital in the United Arab Emirates for five years. It marked the first time that a South Korean hospital has won a consignment contract for a foreign hospital.

Park also sought the Qatar's emir's interest to ensure a stable energy supply to South Korea.

Qatar is South Korea's No. 1 supplier of natural gas and fifth-largest supplier of crude oil.


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