SEJONG, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- Businessmen from South Korea and Uzbekistan held a meeting in Tashkent on Monday to push for greater cooperation between the two nations, Seoul's finance ministry said.
The meeting, also attended by government officials from the both sides, including South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, was arranged to hear the voices of businessmen.
Representatives of South Korean companies such as GS Engineering & Construction Co. and Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. attended the meeting.
Kim is set to hold a finance minister meeting this week as part of an ongoing effort to further enhance bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries
Finance Minister Kim will hold a meeting with Uzbekistan's Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov in Tashkent on Tuesday.
Their planned talks are a follow-up measure to a summit meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in November of last year, it added.
As part of efforts to upgrade the countries' bilateral relationship, the two leaders agreed to expand exchanges between ranking government officials and also expand areas of cooperation.
Moon and Mirziyoyev reaffirmed their joint efforts to further develop South Korea-Uzbekistan ties and also boost their economic and trade relations.
Kim, meanwhile, had talks with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Sukhrob Holmuradov before the business dialogue session, according to his ministry.
The Uzbek official promised efforts to reduce difficulties facing South Korean firms there, especially in connection with compressed natural gas (CNG) stations, automated meter and print paper businesses, it added.
Over the weekend, the Central Asian nation introduced a visa waiver program for nationals of South Korea and six other countries, with Kim and his entourage benefiting from it, an official said.
Later in the day, Kim delivered a special lecture to students at Inha University in Tashkent, which was established by the South Korean government and run by Inha University, based in Incheon, for the purpose of transferring IT technologies to Uzbekistan.
He stressed that the two nations have long maintained bilateral exchanges and that the two sides need to develop their friendship in various fields, the ministry said.
He also introduced South Korea's economy and its rapid economic growth following the 1950-53 Korean War, dubbed the Miracle on the Han River.
He reaffirmed Seoul's support for Uzbekistan's move to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying it's a "desirable direction." He added a free trade agreement can be an option as well.