(YonhapNews)South Korea and Panama agreed Wednesday to step up cooperation on infrastructure construction and natural resources development, Seoul’s presidential office said after a summit between the leaders of the two sides.
President Lee Myung-bak asked his Panamanian counterpart, Ricardo Martinelli, to “provide active support to Korean enterprises so that they will be able to participate in the infrastructure expansion projects” in the Central American nation, Lee’s office Cheong Wa Dae said.South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (R) shakes hands with visiting Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli prior to their talks at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Oct. 20. ((Yonhap)
The Panamanian government plans to expand the Panama Canal and build more multi-purpose dams, subways and railroads.
Martinelli “showed keen interest in learning from South Korea’s experience in economic growth and hoped that South Korean businesses would take part in resources development and infrastructure projects in Panama,” according to Cheong Wa Dae.
He also vowed to help South Korean and other competitive foreign firms participate in mine development projects through the speedy revision of relevant laws, Cheong Wa Dae added.
Martinelli arrived in Seoul Tuesday for a three-day stay, the first trip to South Korea by a Panamanian head of state since the two countries forged diplomatic relations in 1962.
Lee said his government would continue to assist Panama’s drive to establish an e-government and reaffirmed Seoul’s willingness to transfer its development experiences to Panama through the Knowledge Sharing Program, Cheong Wa Dae said.
On North Korea, Lee appreciated Panama’s constant support for Seoul’s efforts to resolve the nuclear problem.
“President Martinelli pledged to continue to take an interest in the issue and work together for the advancement of the North’s denuclearization,” Cheong Wa Dae said. “They also exchanged views on other global issues, including the G-20 Seoul summit and climate change.”
After Wednesday’s summit, Lee and Martinelli attended a signing ceremony of an agreement on avoiding double taxations between the two sides.
Separately, the Busan Port Authority, which handles South Korea’s largest port about 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and the Panama Maritime Authority inked a Memorandum of Understanding on increasing sea trade volume.