The Hyundai concern has decided to open a research and development center in Israel. The announcement was made today by the concern’s president, at a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At another meeting, the president of Daewoo announced his concern was also considering setting up a research and development center in Israel.
Commenting on his meetings in Korea today, Netanyahu said there was great openness and willingness to step up relations between Israel and South Korea. "The relations are grounded in mutual economic interests", he said.
Netanyahu met today with the president of South Korea, and government members. The two heads of state signed an agreement for the establishment of a joint research and development fund, and an agreement for agricultural cooperation, principally to transfer Israeli know-how to Korea.
Israeli ambassador to South Korea Arieh Arad noted that ties between Israel and Korea were constantly improving, and were unaffected by changes in government. The business people participating in meetings between Netanyahu and Korean concerns said ties were based on economics and trade, apart from the diplomatic process.
Arad stressed that Israel’s trade with South Korea rose from $370 million in 1994, to over $1 billion in 1996, of which over $100 million was defense related exports. In 1997, over $100 million in defense contracts were signed with South Korea. Over the past three years, five economic agreements were signed between the two countries, strengthening the entire range of economic ties.
Israel and South Korea held talks on the long-range missiles developed by North Korea and supplied to Syria, and on North Korea’s ties to Iran’s nuclear capability. "We are cooperating with South Korea in information, regarding the movement of ballistic and other missile technologies to and from North Korea, and Middle East", Netanyahu said.