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South Korea has pledged support to Qatar’s commitment to a more sustainable future and development of a greener economy.

Addressing a press conference in Doha on Thursday, South Korea's Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, H E Won Hee-ryong said both Korea and Qatar face the same challenge in reshaping industries and policies to decarbonise their economies in light of the climate change.

“The Qatar National Vision 2030 and Korea’s strategies for energy transition, inclusion of solar, wind, and hydrogen power into its energy mix, and industrial diversification are key examples of the efforts we are making in response to the challenge.”

The Minister stated that proposing collaboration on the development of “green mobility” is one way that Korea may help to diversify the economy of this nation.

The Korean government is now working to transform and innovate its transport sector in order to lessen its reliance on oil and gas. It supports the development of green, alternative-energy vehicles in order to fulfill this policy goal. Additionally, it is targeting commercial launches of fully autonomous vehicles by 2027 and urban air mobility (UAM) operations by 2025.

Qatar is a no stranger to this development. It can be recalled that Mowasalat introduced electric buses last year which were also used during the World Cup.

Additionally, the world’s largest electric bus depot, the Lusail Bus Depot, which has a capacity of 478 vehicles, was inaugurated in October 2022.

Starting in 2022, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, also known as Kahramaa, has installed several EV charging stations in the country, and on January 14, it revealed plans to install EV charging units at all Woqod stations, a project that would be finished in two years.

One of South Korea’s initiatives on sustainable mass transit is the establishment of “K-City,” a test area for autonomous vehicles. In order to encourage research partnerships between the government, industry, and research groups, Won said that his government will also launch the Grand Challenge Korea this year.

Under the umbrella of green mobility, it funds research and development initiatives for hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as rail trains, buses, or logistical systems.

“Korea wishes to share such green mobility development experience and technology with Qatar and I believe our cooperation in this new area can set an example for similar cooperation around the world,” Won emphasised.

On futuristic areas like smart city and renewable energy developments, Won underscored that it is crucial to support businesses and implement projects in relation to this.

“When we look at more broadly to the future, what matters in the end is the government to government cooperation, that could be between the ministries, the governments, and one key mechanism in activating that government to government cooperation is to have a channel or communication.”

Won revealed his ministry is in the works on the sustainable development proposal for Qatar.

“I’m gonna figure out what is the best project as the starting point. Korea achieved many innovations and developments in the area of smart city and renewable energy so this is the starting point, we will start discovering and exploring what the innovations or areas in this field we can work together, so I believe this is the beginning.”

Future proposals, projects and dialogues will be discussed through the Korea-Qatar High-level Strategic Cooperation Committee which was launched in 2012.

Another platform is the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference, which South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport hosts annually.

He said that it is crucial to activate these platforms and mechanisms between governments and link them with the conversation with the private sector to have multiple channels of cooperation between government and businesses.

“This is to have a diverse area of cooperation that we can explore and perhaps implement together.”

In terms of the transportation and infrastructure sectors, Won noted that both countries have developed close cooperation.

“Since Korea’s first project in 1976, Korean contractors built major transport infrastructure in Qatar such as the Doha Metro and the Lusail Expressway.”

Qatar is the eighth biggest overseas construction market for Korea.

The Minister also said that given the $40bn investment plan on the national rail network development in Qatar, he believes the potential for bilateral cooperation in the area looks bright. He also hoped that his country’s rail development experience and technology would be tapped for future rail projects in Qatar.

Won’s arrival on January 26 in the country marks the first official visit by a Korean representative since a new government was formed early last year.

On Thursday, he met Minister of Transport H E Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti, Minister of Municipality H E Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, and Minister of State for Energy Affairs H E Engr. Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Joelyn Baluyut

Quelle/Source: The Peninsula, 28.01.2023

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