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South Korea, Uzbekistan Sign Uranium Deal

South Korean President Rho Moo-hyun shakes hands with Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov at a meeting in Seoul in March (epa) September 25, 2006 -- An official Uzbek news agency, UzA, reports that the Uzbek and South Korean prime ministers have signed an agreement to ship Uzbek uranium ore concentrate to South Korea.

The agency gives no further details. But its South Korean counterpart, Yonhap, quoted officials traveling with Han as saying the deal envisages that South Korea directly imports from Uzbekistan 300 tons of uranium per year between 2010 and 2014.

Yonhap says the deal would constitute a precedent since South Korea currently buys Uzbek uranium indirectly from U.S. companies.

The deal is one of several agreed when South Korean Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook met her Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoev, in Tashkent on September 25. Han also met with President Islam Karimov and parliament speaker Erkin Khalilov

The two also examined ways to boost Uzbek-South Korean ties in the fields of energy, agriculture, construction, architecture, and information technology.

UzA says trade between the two countries increased by nearly 40 percent last year, to $565 million.

(UzA,, Yonhap)

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