Seoul (AFP) June 18, 2010
South Korea and India agreed Friday to launch talks on forging a nuclear energy cooperation pact, the foreign ministry said, a deal which would pave the way for Seoul's export of an atomic power plant.
The agreement was reached when Foreign Minister Yu Myung-Hwan met his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna in Seoul for annual foreign ministers' talks.
President Lee Myung-Bak and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed in January to upgrade their ties to a "strategic partnership" and expand trade to 30 billion dollars by 2014 from 12.2 billion in 2009.
In August last year the two sides signed a free trade pact which went into force in January. Yu and Krishna hailed a jump in trade volume since then.
The ministry in Seoul said trade with India rose 70 percent in the first four months of this year compared with the same period last year.
Yu asked for India's help in a project by South Korean steelmaker POSCO to build a steel mill in eastern India which has been hit by provincial regulatory hurdles and a lawsuit.
South Korea, which generates 30 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, is eager to export its expertise.
It is seeking a plant contract in Turkey following a landmark 20.4-billion-dollar deal with the United Arab Emirates last year.
Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Kyung-Hwan told journalists in Tokyo Friday that India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Finland have also expressed interest in acquiring the South's nuclear plants.
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