Pres. Roh-PM Abdullah Summit in Putrajaya: Korea, Malaysia to Enhance Economic Cooperation, and to Increase Bilateral Trade and Investments
In their Summit Meeting in Putrajaya, the new administrative center for the Federal Government of Malaysia, on Dec. 9, 2005, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi agreed to greatly enhance cooperation in information technology (IT), biotechnologies, the defense, energy, automobile industries and railway construction. The two leaders also agreed at the summit to try to faithfully implement a variety of agreements to substantially increase bilateral trade and investments made when the latter minister visited Seoul in August 2004. According to President Roh's spokesman Kim Man-soo, the two leaders expressed satisfaction over the fact that the bilateral measures are being implemented smoothly. Noting that Malaysia, with its rich natural resources and economic and trade infrastructures, is Korea's biggest trading partner among ASEAN nations, President Roh said that there is much room for further expansion of bilateral exchanges. The bilateral trade of Korea and Malaysia exceeded US$10.1 billion in 2004. Prime Minister Abdullah strongly endorsed the Korean government's endeavor to bring about permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula through its Policy of Peace and Prosperity and the policy of peaceful resolution of Pyongyang's nuclear development program. They pledged closer cooperation and coordination regarding regional and international matters. President Roh placed high expectations on the results of the ASEAN and East Asia Summits that would immediately follow his state visit to Malaysia, saying, "The meetings will lay an important milestone for eventually establishing an East Asian community." The two countries signed agreements on cooperation between small and medium-sized firms and the oil industry after the summit. They, in particular, decided to launch the joint oil project between Petronas of Malaysia and the Korea National Oil Corporation in the near future. "The expanded trade with Malaysia is hoped to expedite South Korean companies' further advancement into the Southeast Asian market," Commerce, Industry and Energy Minister Lee Hee-beom said in a press briefing. After 90-minute summit with Prime Minister Abdullah at his office in Putrajaya, located about 25km from Kuala Lumpur, Roh was briefed on the new administrative town and looked around its neatly arranged administrative complex. "I was deeply impressed by the administrative city," he said in a meeting with Korean residents in Malaysia on December 11. "I found it very beautiful as I realized it has all the things that one can think of in terms of technology, culture and environment." Equipped with a sophisticated information network with state-of-theart communication technologies, the "intelligent" city has played the role of Malaysia's administrative capital since 1999. About 45% of its construction has been completed. The garden city, surrounded by an artificial lake, sits on a magnificent 4,931- hectare site and has the Putra Mosque, incorporating Islamic architecture, alongside the prime minister's office. In addition, the city houses the headquarters of almost all of the ministries of the country's federal government. On the first leg of his nine-day Southeast Asian tour, Roh arrived on Dec. 8, 2005, in Kuala Lumpur, where he stayed until Dec. 14, to attend the ASEAN plus Three Summit and East Asia Summit (EAS) slated for Dec. 12~14. During their stay in Kuala Lumpur, Roh met with Korean residents in Malaysia and visited an Islamic art museum. First Lady Kwon Yang-sook also visited the Petronas Twin Towers, the world's tallest twin buildings. The buildings, 452 meters high, were built by Korean and Japanese firms. After the seven-day visit to Malaysia, Roh flew to Manila for a two-day state visit for his Summit with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on December 15 to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two countries.