The Grand National Party candidate Lee Myung-bak won the presidential elections on 19 December 2007.
He is the first representative of business elected to the highest state post in South Korea. As a mayor of Seoul during 2002-2006, he accomplished notable changes in the city, winning respect and acknowledgement among the population.
The new South Korean president is an advocate of expansion of relations with foreign states. The Republic of Korea has viewed Uzbekistan as a traditionally friendly state.
Participation of the President of Uzbekistan in the inauguration ceremony is the evidence of successful development of relations between the two states.
On the same day, Islam Karimov held talks with the president of Korean Air Cho Yang Ho, which focused on cooperation between this company and O’zbekiston Havo Yollari. The two airlines signed a Protocol of intentions, according to which Uzbekistan should join Sky Team, the international aviation alliance, in 2008-2009.
Cooperation with the alliance, uniting the world’s largest air companies and controlling 35% of the passenger and cargo transportations, will allow Uzbekistan Airways to further integrate in the world aviation transportation system.
The President of Uzbekistan also held negotiations with the president of the Korea Gas Corporation Su Ho Lee. Back in March 2006, during Islam Karimov’s state visit to South Korea, KOGAS and Uzbekneftegaz (Uzbek Oil and Gas, national holding company) signed a Memorandum of understanding.
The document envisages exploratory works, development of fields and creation of joint ventures at Surgil deposit at the Ustyurt plateau, northwestern Uzbekistan. The total cost of the project is USD 1.84 billion. Apart from KOGAS, oil and gas companies of South Korea like Lotte, LG International, SK Gaz and STX Energy are also participating in the project.
At the talks, the sides discussed issues of cooperation between Uzbekneftegaz and KOGAS, as well as implementation of joint projects. A founding agreement and charter of the new joint venture UzKorGasChemical were signed.
Uzbekneftegaz and Daewoo International signed the agreement on exploratory works and development in investment blocks Kuskuduk and Ashibulok at the Ustyurt plateau. Uzbekyengilsanoat (Uzbek Light Industry) and Daewoo International signed a trade agreement.
The visit of the President of Uzbekistan to South Korea will end on 26 February.