South Korea, Indonesia to boost cooperation
South Korea and Indonesia agreed yesterday to cooperate more closely on a range of issues including defence, the global financial crisis and alternative sources of energy.
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed several agreements after talks at the state palace here on the last stop of Lee's three-nation tour, which included Australia and New Zealand.
"This meeting will make a big contribution to bilateral and international cooperation," Lee told reporters after the talks, speaking in Korean.
"We are facing a world economic crisis. Both countries have had economic difficulties but we will work hand-in-hand in the future," he added.
The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding to "cooperate more actively" in security and defence issues, Lee said.
Both countries are eager to build economic and defence ties and boost cooperation through the Asean+3 forum -- the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as China, Japan and South Korea.
Indonesia's trade with South Korea has been soaring in recent years, almost doubling in value in 2008 to 20 billion dollars, Yudhoyono said.
"We are committed to maintaining investment cooperation between both countries despite the current global economic crisis," he said.
"Apart from trade and investment cooperation, we also discussed cooperation in other sectors including information technology, alternative energy, defence and security, Indonesian workers (in South Korea) and tourism."
Indonesia is the second-largest supplier of liquefied natural gas to South Korea, which is the seventh-biggest country of destination for Indonesian non-oil and gas exports.
Yuohoyono said the countries had a long history of cooperation in energy, oil and gas but "we agreed that investment and trade in this sector should be improved."