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Korea and Malaysia Promise Closer Economic Cooperation
Southeast Asian Diplomacy
Korea and Malaysia Promise Closer Economic Cooperation
  • By Jack H. Park
  • December 11, 2014, 02:28
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Korean President Park Geun-hye shakes hands with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Dec. 10.
Korean President Park Geun-hye shakes hands with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Dec. 10.

 

President Park Geun-hye and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had a summit meeting in Seoul on Dec. 10 and agreed on the central role of Korean corporations in a bullet train project connecting Malaysia to Singapore to be kicked off in late 2015 or later. Also, they promised to continue mutual exchange for nuclear power plant construction in Malaysia and Korea’s participation in the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.

A total of US$13 billion is scheduled to be invested the 400 km-long high-speed railroad construction. The investment is made by private-sector companies and the government will be responsible for infrastructure support. Korean and Malaysian builders are expected to form a consortium to that end before the public tender in late 2015 or early 2016. Spain, Italy, China, and Japan are showing interest in it, too.

The RAPID project is to build seven petrochemical plant complexes, 14 tank farms, and 300,000 barrel-capacity oil refining facilities in Johor Bahru at a cost of US$20 billion. Korean companies are looking forward to accounting for US$3 billion of it by winning the bidding scheduled for late this year or the first quarter of 2015.

In the meantime, the Korean and Malaysian governments signed the guidelines and pilot project list of the 2nd Oriental Policy Cooperation Plan proposed by the latter in September. The purpose of the plan is to expand bilateral economic cooperation in the fields of healthcare, advanced technology, biotechnology, national defense, and e-governance. Also, the President and the Prime Minister shared their opinions on how to promote trade facilitation and reciprocity for the expansion of the Korea-ASEAN FTA.