South Korean President Lee to meet Mongolian president Elbegdorj today

By Kang Hyun-kyung

ULAN BATOR ― President Lee Myung-bak will hold talks with his Mongolian counterpart Tsakhia Elbegdorj in Ulan Bator Monday, a day after arriving in the capital city.

Lee will discuss ways to strengthen bilateral ties in energy, health, agriculture, development cooperation and human exchange with the Mongolian leader.

At the summit, Lee and Elbegdorj are expected to adopt a Korea-Mongolia Joint Statement and a mid-term action plan to bolster bilateral cooperation.

The Korea-Mongolia summit is Lee’s first stop on his five-day trip to resource-rich Central Asia. The Korean president will also visit Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

Joining Lee’s Central Asia trip are Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan and several Korean business leaders.

Korea is Mongolia’s fourth largest trading partner. About 1 percent of the Mongolian population works in the manufacturing sector as workers in Korea. They send remittances to their home country, which makes up nearly 10 percent of its gross domestic product.

“In terms of a trading volume, Mongolia is not a significant trading partner for Korea but it is an important country both strategically and culturally,” a high-ranking presidential official said, asking for anonymity.

Mongolia is one of the top 10 resource-rich nations in the world and demand for infrastructure building there is high.

After holding the summit with the Mongolian leader, Lee is set to have lunch with business leaders from the two nations, which will be followed by meetings with Korean nationals living there.

After wrapping up the Mongolia trip, Lee will head to Tashkent for a summit with Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov, Tuesday.

The two leaders are expected to discuss ways to strengthen relations in energy, natural resources, finance and information technology. They are set to sign a non-binding accord aimed to bolster cooperation in health, medical service, information technology and the fabric industry.

Nearly 30,000 Uzbek workers are now employed in the manufacturing sector in Korea.

Several Korean energy firms are doing business in Uzbekistan.

The country has the largest ethnic Korean population in Central Asia.

After finishing the one-day trip to Uzbekistan, Lee will visit Astana Wednesday at the invitation of Kazakhstan leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The two leaders will hold talks a day after Lee’s arrival in the country. They will adopt a non-binding agreement aimed to work closely together in trade, investment, energy, natural resources, environment, health, information technology and agriculture. After the summit, Lee will attend a Korea-Kazakhstan business forum.

Lee returns to Seoul Friday. 

Source:Korea Times
hkang@koreatimes.co.kr   
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