South Korea and Laos to Work on Hydro Power Plant

Michael Song, Dec. 14, 2015, 9:59 a.m.

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn and his Lao counterpart, Thongsing Thammavong, agreed Monday to work closely on a hydropower project in the Southeast Asian country, a South Korean official said. The two sides had planned to sign a deal on the development of Sepon III hydropower plant at their meeting, though they failed to ink the deal due to differences.

The two sides remain at odds over which country will build a road leading up to the power plant, among other things. Still, Hwang and Thammavong said they hope that the sides will quickly sign a deal on the project, according to the South Korean official. A key part of the project is an exclusive development right on the hydropower plant.

South Korea’s state-run water resources company K-Water is pushing to win the project to build a power plant capable of generating 47 mega watts of energy in a tributary in the Mekong River. The proposed deal calls for K-water to build the power plant by 2020 and operate it for 27 years before transferring it to Laos. Currently, Laos operates 14 hydropower plants and plans to build 61 other hydropower plants.

Also Monday, South Korea and Laos signed a deal on Seoul’s provision of US$9.1 million to Vientiane for free to help support information technology in Laos. South Korea also agreed to provide Laos with a loan worth $300 million. The loan will come from the state-run Economic Development Cooperation Fund that was launched in 1987 to help development in emerging countries.

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