Korea-Kazakhstan Summit Due April 22 in Seoul

The Korea Times

By Na Jeong-ju

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev will visit South Korea from April 21 to 23 for a summit with President Lee Myung-bak on April 22, Cheong Wa Dae announced Thursday.

The summit will focus on consolidating a strategic partnership between Seoul and Astana with joint projects to develop oil and natural gas and industrial infrastructure in the Central Asian country expected to be high on the agenda.

The leaders will also discuss ways to strengthen collaboration on regional security issues, the presidential office said.

Both sides agreed last year to develop their relations to strategic partnership and adopted a joint action plan to boost ties in various social and economic fields when President Lee visited Kazakhstan as part of his Central Asian tour.

Under the agreement, Korean firms secured the right to explore the Jambil maritime oil block in the Caspian Sea. Korea also agreed to provide funds and necessary technology to build a power plant near Balkhash Lake, a $2.5-billion project.

Seoul is also helping build a new shipyard in Kuryk and providing assistance for the country’s IT and railroad industries.

During the summit in Seoul, Lee and Nazarbayev will evaluate the progress of the ongoing bilateral projects and seek ways to further strengthen ties, the office said.

During his stay in Korea, the Kazakh leader will attend a ceremony to mark Korea’s designation of the Year of Kazakhstan in 2010. He also plans to meet with National Assembly Speaker Kim Hyong-o, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan and business leaders here.

It will be Nazarbayev’s fourth visit to Seoul as head of state.