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(2nd LD) Park puts forward direction of S. Korea-Mongolia economic cooperation

All News 18:14 July 18, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 12-16)
By Song Sang-ho

ULAANBAATAR, July 18 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday put forward her vision of bilateral economic cooperation between South Korea and Mongolia, stressing the two countries should capitalize on their "complementary economic structure" to pursue co-prosperity.

During a South Korea-Mongolia business forum in Ulaanbaatar, Park underscored the need for the two nations to champion the "externally-oriented" economic policy to expand mutual trade, and bolster cooperation in infrastructure development and new industrial sectors such as renewable energy and telemedicine.

"Mongolia -- rich in mineral resources -- is the world's top 10 resource-abundant nation, while South Korea is a manufacturing powerhouse that possesses cutting-edge technologies," she told a gathering of some 300 business leaders from the two countries.

"Thus, the potential (for bilateral economic cooperation) -- based on the mutually complementary economic structure -- is much greater," she added.

Bilateral cooperation is all the more crucial in the face of a series of global economic challenges including economic uncertainties fueled by Britain's recent decision to quit the European Union (EU) and the world's low growth, the chief executive stressed.

"To ride out these new challenges including climate change, the importance of expanded bilateral cooperation is becoming even greater," she said.

Touching on the agreement between the two countries to seek an economic partnership agreement (EPA), which is similar to a free trade deal, Park said that the EPA would open a "new chapter" in two-way economic cooperation as it will serve as an "institutional framework" to bolster trade and investment.

Commenting on the need for joint efforts to tackle climate change, Park stressed that the two nations should work together to turn the economic burden of protecting the environment into a "new opportunity for growth."

"If we combine Mongolia's new renewable energy resources with South Korea's new energy technologies, the two nations can create a new model of bilateral business cooperation beyond the issue of tackling climate change," she said.

During the South Korea-Mongolia summit, the two nations signed a series of MOUs including one on cooperation in renewable energy. Another MOU concerns cooperation in the creation of an eco-friendly energy town, which meets its energy demand through the processing of biomass and other natural and renewable energy sources.

Businessmen from the two countries engaged in one-on-one business consultations in which some 50 South Korean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participated.

Meanwhile, Udriin Sonin, a mass-circulation newspaper, carried a front-page article on Monday that introduced South Korea's rural development campaign undertaken in the 1970s.

The campaign, called the Saemaeul Movement, was a government-led initiative that promoted ideas of diligence, self-help and cooperation to generate growth and enhance living conditions for people in rural areas. It was pushed forward under the leadership of late President Park Chung-hee, the father of the incumbent president.

The newspaper explained that the campaign was first introduced into the country in late 2004 by a Mongolian who was "deeply impressed" by the campaign.

Part of the efforts to apply the campaign in Mongolia was a project, called "Green Mongolia," to prevent desertification in the landlocked country.

Since 2009, the Seoul government has carried out the comprehensive campaign to help develop rural areas in Mongolia.


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