October 28, 2011

S. Korea, Mekong nations hold first talks on economic cooperation


SEOUL, Oct. 28 -- South Korea and five Southeast Asian nations in the Mekong region on Friday held the first-ever talks on expanding economic cooperation, the foreign ministry said.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan and his counterparts of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand agreed to strengthen their economic ties in areas including infrastructure, agricultural and rural development and environmentally sustainable growth.

The countries will support exchanges between public and private sectors on development projects and encourage the private sector to participate in such projects, according to the foreign ministry.

The foreign ministers of the six countries plan to meet annually and review these issues on a regular basis.

he meeting was proposed last year by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, as South Korea seeks to expand economic ties with the five countries and launch various development projects there.

South Korea also plans to sharply increase its aid to the Mekong region.

Trade between South Korea and the five countries reached 25 billion U.S. dollars last year.

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