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S.Korea ready to further contribute to Jordan’s development — ambassador

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 02,2018 - Last updated at Oct 02,2018

Bom-yon Lee

AMMAN — South Korea is willing and ready to support further projects to contribute to the development of Jordan, according to South Korean Ambassador in Amman Bom-yon Lee.

“We are committed to supporting Jordan and we believe that more cooperation and coordination is needed to come up with feasible ideas for projects to be supported in various sectors in Jordan by the concerned authorities,” the ambassador said on the occasion of national day, which the embassy will mark on Wednesday.

 “Jordan and Korea mark this year, 56 years of diplomatic relations and cooperation that have started since 1962. The two countries achieved remarkable development in various areas, especially in the economic field where we developed mutually beneficial and future-oriented cooperation,” Lee said in an interview with The Jordan Times.

He noted the volume of trade exchange between the two countries stood at $718 million in 2017 with Jordan’s exports to Korea increasing by about 46 per cent to $71 million in 2017.

“Korean companies are actively involved in infrastructure projects in Jordan, in particular, in the field of electricity generation and production,” he noted, citing the Korean Electric Power Corporation, the fourth-largest electric power company in the world, which invested $1.25 billion and built two natural gas power generating plants in Al Manakher and Al Qatrana areas. The two plants supply about 23 per cent of the total electricity in Jordan.

“KEPCO is currently constructing a wind power plant in Fujeij, Maan, investing $184 million and looking forward to participating further in the distribution and control system of electricity as well as in the renewable energy sector. KOSPO, another Korean power company, will invest around $110 million to start a wind farm project in Tafileh Governorate towards the end of this year,” Lee added.

Samsung and LG electronics also established their Levant headquarters in Amman, and opened their research and development centres at the Business Park in Amman, employing a number of Jordanian IT experts to develop software programmes used in smartphones.

“Korea is also looking forward to participating in the Red Sea Dead Sea Project, investing more than $1 billion. A Korean consortium has been selected as one of the final five contenders,” the ambassador continued.

To contribute to the development of Jordan, the Korean government has provided Jordan with $68 million in grants and $250 million in soft loans since 1991, with soft loans being used in wastewater management projects and the construction of a 5MW nuclear research and training reactor at the Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Korea has also provided technical assistance and implemented several development projects in the fields of health, education and vocational training. Korea completed the construction of a special school for students with hearing impairments in Jordan in 2017.

The Korean government is currently working on projects in Jordan including three healthcare centres in Amman and surrounding areas, new schools for vulnerable children in Irbid, Mafraq and Zarqa and an industrial high school in Zarqa, according to the ambassador.

 “Korea is aware of the pioneering role played by Jordan in the fight against terrorism and Jordan’s stability in a volatile region under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah. Within the military cooperation between the two sides, Korea has participated in international efforts to counter violent extremism including the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” he said.

On tourism, the number of Korean tourists has been increasing, with more than 15,000 Koreans visiting Jordan in 2017, a 25 per cent increase since 2016. 

The Korean Language Department at the University of Jordan currently teaches 200 Jordanian students Korean and scholarships are also offered for students to study in Korea.

The Korean embassy in Amman is working with the Jordanian Embassy in Seoul to promote Jordanian culture, tourism and heritage.

On Syrian refugees, he said Korea continues to stand by Jordan in its efforts to cope with the refugee crisis. The Korean government has already fulfiled most of its pledge, including $3 million in humanitarian assistance to Jordan and UN agencies this year, which are working in the Kingdom.

The Korean government has provided $50 million for the Syrian refugees since 2012, of which about $15 million was provided to Jordan, he said.

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