PM Najib: Ties with S. Korea all set to soar

PM Najib: Ties with S. Korea all set to soar
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak shakes hands with South Korean President Park Gyeun-Hye upon his arrival at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, December 10, 2014.

SEOUL - Bilateral relations between Malaysia and South Korea are set to reach greater heights with the setting up of a joint committee on economic cooperation between the two countries.

On Malaysia's side, the committee will be headed by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced at the end of his two-day official visit to South Korea yesterday.

The committee, he said, would decide on how to further improve the existing strong relations between Malaysia and South Korea, including looking at the implementation of the second wave of the Look East Policy (LEP2.0).

"Under the LEP2.0, we will focus on strategic areas of human development.

"This does not mean that we will send more students here, but they will be sent to study high technology and in strategic areas based on the needs of the country," he told Malaysian journalists here yesterday.

A total of 589 Malaysian students are currently studying here, while 1,126 South Korean students are studying in several universities in Malaysia.

Earlier, Najib held bilateral talks with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at her office, where he credited people-to-people relations and private sector ties with bringing the economic partnership between both countries to a new level.

Najib later chaired a dialogue with 20 South Korean heads of industry to discuss investment opportunities in Malaysia.

"One of the issues discussed is the collaboration between Proton Holdings Bhd and LG Electronics on the development of the electric car Proton Iriz.

"The tests carried out on the car are very encouraging, but we need to make some very important decisions before we can move forward," he said.

The prototype of the car is being developed in Incheon near here, and is part of Proton's plan to mass-produce an electric vehicle.

Proton had earlier announced that it would start mass-producing electric vehicles this year.

In addition, Najib said the Korean company Lotte Chemical had also expressed interest to expand its investment in Malaysia by between US$3 billion (S$3.9 billion) and US$4 billion.

Lotte Chemical, which had already invested US$2.1 billion in its chemical plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, is currently looking at Bintulu, Sarawak.

"However, the decision would depend on the availability of feedstock and its price," he added.

Najib and Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor later left for Busan, where he is scheduled to attend the ASEAN-South Korea commemorative summit today.

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