S. Korea’s Park in Tehran to Explore Enhanced Ties

S. Korea’s Park in Tehran to Explore Enhanced Ties S. Korea’s Park in Tehran to Explore Enhanced Ties

South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Tehran on Sunday on a historic trip aimed at boosting political and economic relations between the two countries.

Park is set to meet with her Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, on Monday in the first meeting between the leaders of the two countries since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1962, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The meeting will set the tone for relations at a time when the Islamic Republic has emerged as a promising market following the lifting of international sanctions earlier this year.

"We expect the trip to serve as an occasion to take a new leap forward in bilateral ties, which have been stalled due to the international sanctions," said Kim Kyou-hyun, a senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs. The UN lifted sanctions on Iran in a follow-up to a nuclear deal Tehran reached with the United States and five other world powers in July 2015.

Park and Rouhani are expected to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula and in the Middle East.

South Korea is pushing to participate in Iran's large-scale infrastructure development projects designed to rebuild its economy that was hampered by international sanctions.

South Korea is also seeking to expand bilateral economic cooperation to healthcare, culture and information and communications technology beyond construction and infrastructure.

Iran boasts the world's fourth-largest proven crude oil deposits and ranks No. 1 in natural gas reserves.