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Hwang asks for Iraq's cooperation in bolstering economic ties

All News 20:46 January 16, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday asked for Iraq's cooperation in bolstering bilateral economic cooperation, pointing to the two countries' "mutually complementary" economic structure.

During a meeting with Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in Seoul, Hwang also expressed his appreciation for the Middle East country's support for South Korea's policy on North Korea's denuclearization.

"The two countries have developed their cooperative ties based on a long history of cooperation and a mutually complementary economic structure," Hwang said.

"I ask for the Iraqi government's interest and cooperation to ensure that (bilateral) economic cooperation continues to develop in the future," he said.

The acting president, in addition, pledged to continue Seoul's humanitarian support to help stabilize the conflict-laden country.

The Iraqi minister, in turn, voiced hopes that more South Korean firms can make inroads into the Iraqi market. He also highlighted Iraq's opposition to any weapons of mass destruction in a reference to a nuclearizing North Korea.

Al-Jaafari's four-day schedule, which was arranged on the invitation of the South Korean government, began on Sunday.

On Tuesday, he is set to meet with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se to exchange views on a series of bilateral and regional issues, including security on the Korean Peninsula and the Middle East.

Iraq is South Korea's fifth-largest partner for oil imports after Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In 2015, two-way trade volume reached US$7.69 billion.

South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn (R) shakes hands with Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari before their talks at Hwang's office in Seoul on Jan. 16, 2017, in this photo, provided by the prime minister's office. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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