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South Korea to sign loans agreement

CAMBODIAN Prime Minister Hun Sen is set to sign a new arrangement on bilateral loans and an extradition agreement with South Korea when his counterpart pays a state visit next week.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, who previously served as an economic adviser to Hun Sen, will lead a delegation to the country for two days from October 22. The parties are also expected to sign five other agreements on cooperation covering mineral exploration, broadcasting, forest plantations and climate change, and bilateral relations.

The loan deal will govern those issued through South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), which promotes economic cooperation with developing countries. It is managed by The Export-Import Bank of Korea.

South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Lee Kyung-soo told reporters Wednesday he expected the two sides would map out detailed areas for mineral exploration during the visit as part of the two memorandums of understanding governing bilateral cooperation in the sector.

“Cambodia has a lot of potential in the natural resource, petrol and gas sectors,” he said. “The problem for investors is the lack of exact data pertaining to areas for development.”

He added that the MoUs on mineral exploration follow the inking of an MoU on energy and natural-resource development when Hun Sen visited South Korea in June. “Although we have just a short-term relationship, I think that our friendship tie is very strong,” he said.

Lee said Cambodia has received US$220 million in conditional aid for eight projects since 2001, as well as $46 million in unconditional aid through the EDCF.

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