High-powered Korean delegation to visit RI

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A high-powered South Korean delegation will meet Indonesian government and business representatives next month to follow up on an economic cooperation pact signed last December, an official from South Korea's Commerce Ministry says.

"Unlike the last meeting, which only involved talks, we will have signed an agreement on various strategic projects by then (next month's visit)," a deputy minister from the South Korean Commerce Ministry, Kim Junggwan, said Thursday.

The delegation will consist of a number of government officials and close to one hundred top Korean entrepreneurs.

On Dec. 4, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, accompanied by a group of entrepreneurs, and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed a joint declaration in Jakarta on the creation of an extensive strategic partnership.

"Later on in late April, with the task force we have established to carry out our plans, we will determine which projects South Korea will take part in," Kim said.

Under the December deal, South Korea will establish business partnerships in seven sectors -- policy support; trade, investment and technology; the forestry and marine industries; energy and natural resources; infrastructure and construction; information technology; and the defense sector, with the last four sectors being the main focuses.

The task force, which is answerable directly to President Roh, is made up of representatives of the South Korean Commerce Ministry and the private sector, led by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"I'm personally amazed that South Korea has already established a task force, while the (Indonesian) government has yet to do its part," said Jongkie D. Sugiarto, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin)'s Korea Committee chairman.

Indonesia is South Korea's No. 1 trading partner in Southeast Asian and the 10th in the world, with bilateral trade valued at US$13.7 billion in 2006.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is South Korea's fourth biggest investment destination, with a total of $4.77 billion having been invested here, giving employment to 500,000 workers.

"Despite the unstable investment climate here, South Korea still regards Indonesia as among the best countries to invest in," Kim said, adding that resource-rich Indonesia helped Korea cope with its lack of energy and natural resources. (06)
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