0112 GMT January 19, 2019
President Park Geun-hye will help establish a “foundation of cooperation” with Iran by becoming the first South Korean president to visit Tehran since the nations established diplomatic ties in 1962, a presidential spokesman said ahead of the visit, Wall Street Journal reported.
She will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday and possibly hold talks with Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Officials in Seoul say the primary purpose of the visit is economic as Korean companies eye deals in areas such as construction, autos and electronics. Ms. Park will be accompanied by Seoul’s biggest-ever traveling business delegation of over 230 executives during the three-day visit.
According to Wall Street Journal, East Asian nations are scrambling to boost economic links with Tehran after it won relief from sanctions last year by agreeing on its nuclear program. Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran in January and Japan signed an investment treaty with Iran a month later.
South Korea is also eager to boost its oil supply from Iran which used to account for 10 percent of its oil imports before sanctions were imposed.