SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- Uzbekistan's deputy prime minister said Wednesday that Tashkent will cooperate with Seoul to ensure South Korean companies can boost their participation in infrastructure projects in the central Asian country.
Sardor Umurzakov, who is in charge of investment and foreign economic relations, made the comments in a videoconference meeting with South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki, according to the Ministry of Finance and Economy.
Last year, South Korean builder SK Engineering & Construction Co. signed a memorandum of understanding with the Uzbek energy ministry and the Korea Energy Agency for a US$200 million power plant modernization project in Uzbekistan.
The South Korean builder is set to conduct a feasibility study on the renovation and modernization project for the Mubarek power plant in the first half of this year and to sign a contract in 2021 based on the results.
Also in 2019, SK E&C signed a collaboration agreement with Uzbekistan's state-run oil and gas company, Uzbekneftegaz, on a modernization project for a Bukhara refinery.
Hong and Umurzakov agreed to quickly complete their joint study on a potential free trade agreement between the two countries.
Umurzakov also expressed gratitude to South Korea for its assistance in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
South Korea donated Korean-made COVID-19 test kits worth $250,000 to Uzbekistan and dispatched Choi Jae-wook, a preventive medicine professor at Korea University, to Uzbekistan for four weeks to help Uzbekistan contain the coronavirus outbreak.
In Uzbekistan, the coronavirus has killed 10 people and infected more than 2,200.
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