President Lee Myung-bak said Monday he had "in-depth" discussions with Thai officials about sharing Korea's river refurbishment experiences for a massive river re-engineering project the Southeast Asian nation has been pushing for since last year's devastating floods.
The multi-billion-dollar project was a focus of Lee's trip to Thailand from Friday to Sunday.
During summit talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Lee asked for Korean firms' participation in the project, stressing the experience and know-how the country gained while carrying out a similar project to refurbish the country's four major rivers.
Thailand began pursuing the US$13 billion project after the country was hit by severe floods last year. Yingluck has expressed keen interest in South Korea's river refurbishment project that was aimed at preventing floods, preserving water resources and promoting tourism along the waterways.
"Presently, Korea, China and Japan are fiercely competing with each other over the Thai project," Lee said during his biweekly radio address. "Amidst such a situation, I engaged in in-depth discussions during my recent visit to Thailand on how to work together drawing upon Korea's experience in carrying out the four rivers restoration project."
When Yingluck visited South Korea earlier this year, she toured the construction sites of the four major rivers restoration project and unveiled her plan to introduce a similar policy in Thailand to prevent chronic flood damage, Lee said.
Before Thailand, Lee also visited Indonesia for a regional democracy forum and summit talks with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
"I reaffirmed collaborative ties between Korea and Indonesia on large-scale joint investment projects that are in the works as well as cooperation in the defense industry and energy sector," Lee said. "Our two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on the joint development of an environmentally-friendly green car." (Yonhap)