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Ukrainian leader seeks South Korea's reconstruction assistance in nuclear energy, resources, defense industry

Sept. 16, 2023 - 17:04 By Yonhap
This handout photograph taken and released by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on Thursday shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attending a meeting with representatives of Jewish clergy in Kyiv, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo - AFP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has requested South Korea's cooperation in nuclear power, resource development and the defense industry as part of reconstruction efforts of the war-ravaged country, Seoul officials said Saturday.

A delegation of government officials and business representatives who visited Kyiv this week to discuss South Korea's potential involvement in reconstruction projects, estimated to be worth around 1,200 trillion won (US$902 billion), returned home Saturday morning.

During a meeting with them Wednesday, Zelensky called for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, particularly expressing interest in South Korea's expertise in large-scale atomic power technology, the delegation said.

Zelensky also expressed hopes for South Korea's assistance in solar power generation technology and the development and expansion of oil-refining facilities, they said.

"President Zelensky seemed to envision a partnership between Ukraine and South Korea in the energy sector, with a focus on the European Union market," a member of the delegation said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (6th from left) meets the South Korean delegation led by Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong (6th from right) on Wednesday in this photo provided by the ministry. (Yonhap)

Zelensky also proposed a joint effort in mining lithium, a vital component of rechargeable batteries, since Ukraine possesses substantial lithium deposits in its eastern region.

In the realm of defense, Zelensky suggested combining South Korean defense manufacturing technology with Ukraine's intelligence on Russia to create advanced weaponry that could be exported to European countries, the delegation said.

In addition, the president expressed hopes for South Korea's involvement in various other sectors, including automobile manufacturing, dam restoration and the construction of a high-speed railway line connecting Kyiv and Warsaw, Poland.

During the meeting, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Won Hee-ryong, who led the delegation, reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to actively supporting Ukraine's reconstruction efforts.

He said the high-speed railway project could move forward promptly and that both the South Korean government and businesses were eager to collaborate on nuclear energy, lithium, automobiles and various construction projects, according to delegates.

South Korea plans to dispatch a second economic delegation, led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, to Kyiv later this year. (Yonhap)