En­voy: South Korea seeks to boost Iran ties

Iran Daily - - Front Page - By Farzam Vanaki

South Korea’s Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in and govern­ment are very much com­mit­ted to strength­en­ing and deep­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween Seoul and Tehran, as Iran is a very pre­cious and strate­gic part­ner for the East Asian coun­try.

Speak­ing to Iran Daily on the side­lines of the 23rd Press Ex­hi­bi­tion cur­rently un­der­way in Tehran, South Korean Am­bas­sador to Iran Kim Se­ung-ho said that, in June 2017, Ira­nian Par­lia­ment Speaker Ali Lar­i­jani vis­ited Seoul.

“This visit was re­cip­ro­cated by South Korea’s Par­lia­ment Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, later in Au­gust, which was in­dica­tive of Seoul’s com­mit­ment to ce­ment­ing and strength­en­ing Iran ties.”

Com­ment­ing on South Korean com­pa­nies’ present ac­tiv­i­ties in Iran and their co­op­er­a­tion with their Ira­nian coun­ter­parts, the am­bas­sador said they had not yet started ac­tual work in the Mid­dle Eastern state.

Talks, how­ever, are cur­rently un­der­way by the two sides to sign co­op­er­a­tion doc­u­ments and con­tracts, and de­cide on the meth­ods of fi­nanc­ing their joint projects, the South Korean am­bas­sador added.

Nev­er­the­less, he stressed, more time is needed to achieve fa­vor­able re­sults in this re­gard.

Fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Ac­tion (JCPOA) – signed be­tween Tehran and P5+1 – in Jan­uary 2016, and the re­moval of Western sanc­tions on the Asian coun­try, the gen­eral en­vi­ron­ment and at­mos­phere in Iran have im­proved re­mark­ably, the am­bas­sador said.

“A large num­ber of South Korean com­pa­nies are flock­ing to the Ira­nian mar­ket. We have nine South Korean guest­houses, which are small ho­tels, in Iran, only for South Korean tourists who are, at present, mostly busi­ness­men.”

What is in­ter­est­ing about these guest­houses, he said, is that dur­ing the past few months all of their rooms have been fully booked by South Korean busi­ness­men and traders.

“The two sides are hold­ing good talks that are pro­gress­ing well and will pro­duce prac­ti­cal out­comes in the near fu­ture.”

He pre­dicted that trade be­tween the two coun­tries would reach $10 bil­lion by the end of 2017, adding that South Korea is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a deficit in trade with Iran.

“The trade bal­ance be­tween the two coun­tries is highly in fa­vor of Iran, as a re­sult of the Mid­dle Eastern state’s oil ex­ports to South Korea.”

He noted that Ira­nian crude ex­ports to South Korea con­sti­tute some 75 per­cent of the bi­lat­eral trade, while South Korean ex­ports to Iran ac­count for some 25 per­cent of the to­tal trans­ac­tions.

The euro and the South Korean won are the two ma­jor cur­ren­cies cur­rently used in trade trans­ac­tions be­tween Tehran and Seoul, the am­bas­sador said.

He added that the pay­ment mech­a­nism op­er­ates this way: “Hav­ing pur­chased oil from Iran, South Korean im­porters de­posit its money in the banks of the East Asian na­tion. This money is used later by Ira­nian


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