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(2nd LD) Kenya's president condemns N. Korea’s provocations

All News 05:58 June 01, 2016

(ATTN: UPDSTES with comments by Park; details)
By Kim Kwang-tae

NAIROBI, May 31 (Yonhap) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has condemned North Korea’s provocative acts and vowed to faithfully enforce the U.N. sanctions on North Korea as he met with South Korea's President Park Geun-hye.

North Korea is under the toughest U.N. sanctions ever over its fourth nuclear test and its long-range rocket launch earlier this year.

Kenyatta condemned North Korea’s provocative acts that could heighten tensions in the region and urged North Korea to halt provocations. He also said Kenya will take necessary steps to faithfully implement the U.N. sanctions.

Park also said implementation of the U.N. sanctions is critical in creating conditions under which Pyongyang has no choice but to abandon its nuclear program.

The comments at the summit on Tuesday came hours after North Korea’s latest attempt to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile ended in failure.

The missile launch is widely seen as North Korea’s latest defiance against U.N. sanctions. North Korea is banned from launching ballistic missiles under U.N. resolutions.

The summit -- the first between the leaders of the two countries in 34 years -- came as Seoul is reaching out to Africa to explore business opportunities on the continent that has huge growth potential.

The two leaders shared personal affinity as the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1964 when Park’s late father, Park Chung-hee, and Kenyatta’s late father, Jomo Kenyatta, were both in power.

Park proposed that South Korea and Kenya develop a mutually beneficial partnership, saying Seoul’s experience of successful economic development can make it a good partner of East Africa’s largest economy.

Kenya is pushing for massive infrastructure projects, including power plants, roads, ports and railways under its development blueprint.

Kenyatta called for strengthened bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, saying there is “no better model than South Korea” for Kenya’s economic development.

South Korea has become a donor country from a key recipient of U.N. aid in half a century, a transformation that has inspired many developing nations to follow in the footsteps of the Asian country in advancing their economies.

Kenya’s central bank governor has said his country’s economy could grow by 6 percent this year. This number will allow Kenya to have the fifth fastest growth rate on the continent.

Kenya -- the world's eighth-largest geothermal producer -- is seeking to expand its geothermal power capacity to 5,500 MW by 2031, from the current 598 MW. Geothermal energy accounts for 26 percent of Kenya’s total electricity production.

A consortium -- which is composed of South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering and Japan’s Toshiba -- built two geothermal power plants in 2014 that can generate 280 MW power.

Hyundai Engineering is pushing to secure a US$4.3 billion project to build three more geothermal power plants in Kenya. The bidding is set to begin later this year.

Nairobi is seeking to diversify its energy source by building nuclear power plants by 2033 that have 4,000 MW generation capacity.

Park told Kenyatta that she expects South Korean companies to participate in Kenya’s project to build nuclear power plants, citing Seoul’s track record of running 24 nuclear reactors and of building four reactors in the United Arab Emirates.

After the summit, Park and Kenyatta watched as their representatives signed several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) in such areas such as nuclear power, science, health and education and information and communications technology (ICT).

Kenyatta also expressed hope that the two countries can deepen and strengthen cooperation in energy and nuclear power.

The MOUs also call for, among other things, bilateral cooperation in building a pilot industrial zone for South Korean companies on about 800,000 square meters of land.

The pilot zone, if built, could serve as a starting point for South Korean companies in making further forays into U.S. and other African markets. Textile goods produced in Kenya can be shipped to the United States without tariffs under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a U.S. trade preference program for Africa.

Kenyatta asked Park to cooperate in setting up a science and technology university and running a training program, which is modeled on Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

Park said she will make efforts to ensure South Korea’s relevant bodies can cooperate with Kenya.

South Korea “will be with Kenya in the process of its development as a friend and partner of Kenya,” Park said in a luncheon meeting with Kenyatta.

Also Tuesday, Park launched a pilot program of South Korea’s new aid program for Kenyans.

The "Korea Aid”program is designed to provide mobile health care and nutritional support to local people in medically underserved regions by using 10 vehicles, including ambulances. The program also allows local people to experience South Korean culture.

She also watched a cultural performance that featured a demonstration of the traditional Korean martial art of taekwondo and N.Flying, a South Korean rock band.

Kenya is the third leg of her trip that also took her to Ethiopia and Uganda. Park is set to leave for France for a state visit on Wednesday.


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