Greece, South Korea ink pacts

Greece and South Korea yesterday signed agreements to boost bilateral cooperation in maritime transport and tourism during a landmark visit to Athens by South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun. «We hope that Greece’s political, economic and geographical advantages will motivate South Korean investment,» President Karolos Papoulias said after talks with Roh, the first Korean head of state to visit Greece since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1961. The first pact, to improve cooperation in the field of maritime transport, was signed by Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis and his counterpart Kim Sung-jin. Greece is already a world leader in maritime shipping and South Korea plays a dominant role in the international shipbuilding industry. The second pact, aimed at driving the tourism sectors of both countries, was signed by Greece’s Tourism Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia and South Korea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Ban Ki-moon. At present, Korean investment in Greece stands at around 2.3 million dollars (1.8 million euros) and Greek investment in Korea at 5.4 million dollars (4.2 million euros), South Korea’s President Roh told Kathimerini in an interview published on Sunday. Roh also expressed his interest in boosting cooperation «in new areas, such as technology.» Meanwhile, Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis presented a delegation of South Korean businessmen with potential investment prospects in Greece and the broader Balkan region.