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S. Korea, UAE launch high-level talks on nuke cooperation

TOKYO, Nov 16 (KUNA) -- South Korea and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) launched a high-level dialogue channel on nuclear cooperation on Friday, the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported.
The two countries held the inaugural session of the High-Level Consultation in Seoul, led by Seoul's Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho, and UAE Energy and Industry Minister Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei.
"This channel will serve as another very important, pivotal pillar for our bilateral relations," Lee was quoted as saying in his opening remarks.
"We started the construction of the power plant, but now we are talking about the nuclear research and development, and nuclear security, human resources development and even regulations," he added.
South Korea won a USD 20 billion contract in 2009 to construct four nuclear reactors in Barakah, UAE. Since then, the two countries have been pushing to expand cooperation in nuclear and other sectors.
In his opening remarks, the UAE minister hailed the completion of the first Barakah reactor as a significant milestone.
"We are proud of the completion of Unit 1 at the highest standards of safety, security and quality, and we look forward to the overall completion of the whole program," he said.
The minister voiced hope for close cooperation with Korea, particularly in research and development (R and D) in the nuclear sector.
He also stressed the importance of the peaceful use of nuclear energy, noting that his country is keen on insisting on the peacefulness of every program in the Gulf region.
"Whatever we do in the UAE in this program, I think it is going to be a model for the other projects in the region," he added.
Seoul and Abu Dhabi agreed to install the dialogue channel during South Korean President Moon Jae-in's state visit to the Middle East country in March.
At the first meeting, the two sides agreed to install four working groups on cooperation on the Barakah nuclear power plant and overseas nuclear project, nuclear science and technology, and R&D nuclear security and cooperation in the international arena, and nuclear regulation. (end) mk.mb