(Yonhap Interview) Indonesia to expand cooperation with S. Korea: speaker

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) — Indonesian parliament speaker said Friday he will make efforts to expand bilateral cooperation in various sectors including social infrastructure and culture between Seoul and Jakarta with business-friendly environments for South Korean companies.
“Indonesia has held four peaceful, stable presidential elections so far. Our society has been well stabilized enough for South Korean businesses to make investments,” Zulkifli Hasan, the speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR in Indonesian, in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.
Hasan visited Seoul at the invitation of his South Korean counterpart Chung Ui-hwa to discuss ways to promote political and economic cooperation.
He said bilateral cooperation between the two countries has largely focused on the energy sector, in which Indonesia has its strength.
“From now on, we will carry out joint projects in sectors like administrative and legal enforcement, and social overhead capital facilities including sea ports and shipyards,” said the Indonesian politician.
Trade volume between South Korea and Indonesia reached US$23.6 billion last year, up from $200 million in 1973 when the two countries began diplomatic relationship.
Hasan expected the recent visa waiver agreement between Seoul and Jakarta to contribute to accelerating cultural exchange.
“I’m familiar with South Korean culture through mega hit ‘Gangnam Style,'” he said. “The visa waiver program will beef up bilateral cooperation in culture and tourism industries between the two countries.”

   In 2014, about 208,000 Indonesian people visited South Korea, the second-highest number among Southeast Asian countries, following Malaysia with 244,000.

Zulkifli Hasan (L), the speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly, or MPR in Indonesian (Yonhap file photo)

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