By Park Gil-ja and Kim Young Shin
President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 28 held a summit with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Seoul on strengthening bilateral ties, with this year marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries.
The two leaders agreed to expand economic cooperation, which has been focused on energy and construction, to a wider range of fields.
To support Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer finals, the first time the competition will be held in the Middle East, more joint projects in transportation will be launched. Korea will also take part in projects under the Qatar National Vision 2030 and plan collaboration in other sectors such as health care, agriculture, fisheries, education and securities.
President Moon said, "Bilateral trade volume has reached USD 17 billion and many Korean corporations are participating in Qatar’s infrastructure construction and other economic projects," adding, "Meanwhile, Korea is largely dependent on Qatar for LNG imports."
He also expressed hope for bilateral energy trade to lead to joint projects in new industries such as the smart grid.
After the summit, both sides signed seven memorandums of understanding on smart farms, land transportation, aquaculture, licensing of marine officers, training programs, smart grid technology and port management.