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Lee discusses nuclear plant deal with Zuma

(From left) Lee Myung-bak, Jacob Zuma
(From left) Lee Myung-bak, Jacob Zuma

President in South Africa to boost PyeongChang’s Winter Olympics bid


President Lee Myung-bak on Tuesday discussed nuclear energy development cooperation with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma during their summit talks in Durban.

Seoul is seeking to win atomic plant construction deals abroad, with the United Arab Emirates being its first overseas customer in late 2009, and South Africa has announced that it will increase atomic power generation to 20,000 megawatts by 2025.

Lee and Zuma also talked about ways to strengthen cooperation in mineral resource development as well as expansion of two-way trade and investment, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

The leaders of the two G20 member nations agreed to bolster collaboration on global issues such as the G20’s goals, climate change and development cooperation. Both Lee and Zuma have been active in taking initiative on regional or global issues. Zuma has been arbitrating in the Libyan crisis as representative of the African Union.

South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said during his Seoul visit last October that there was great possibility for South Korean companies to take part in atomic power plant construction in his country.

Having inked a deal on nuclear energy cooperation with South Africa then, South Korea is seeking to be invited as a bidder in South Africa’s 210-trillion-won ($197-billion) atomic power plant project.

After the summit talks with Zuma at the International Convention Center in Durban, Lee focused on PyeongChang’s bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, for which he is scheduled to speak during a final presentation to the International Olympic Committee members.

“We should do our best when we have the chance,” Lee was quoted as saying by his spokesman Park Jeong-ha Tuesday morning.

Lee said on Monday that South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 Games would send a message for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

“Korea’s hosting of the 1986 Asian Games, the 1988 Summer Olympic Games and the Universiade contributed towards peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Lee said, according to Park.

“If PyeongChang gets to host the 2018 Olympic Games, it will definitely help promote peace on the Peninsula.”

Lee said that he will explain to the IOC members that holding the 2018 Games in PyeongChang would allow the IOC to take a step towards its goal of world peace and that it would help promote a balanced development of sports across different continents, according to Park.

Since arriving in the South African city late Saturday, Lee has held strategic meetings with his aides and officials on the PyeongChang committee and rehearsing his presentation for Wednesday.

Following the IOC announcement of the winning city on Wednesday, Lee will fly to Kinshasa of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Thursday in return for Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s Seoul visit last year.

On Friday, Lee will travel to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for summit talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for greater economic cooperation and to honor Ethiopia’s Korean War veterans. The president will return to Seoul Monday.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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