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According to Yonhap News,
SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Friday it plans to forge deeper ties with the United Arab Emirates in the energy segment and continue to keep a watchful eye on the growing tension between the United States and Iran.
Joo Young-joon, deputy minister for energy and resources at South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, plans to visit Abu Dhabi later this week and hold meetings with government and business officials to share opinions on the escalating uncertainties in the Middle East.
Iran carried out a series of missile attacks against a U.S. air base in Iraq earlier this week, further heightening tensions in the Middle East that began when the U.S. killed a top Iranian general in a drone strike.
The two countries are expected to discuss ways to enhance their bilateral cooperation in the energy sector, including South Korea's oil inventories.
Seoul, the world's fifth-largest importer of crude, earlier said the unrest in the Middle East has yet to have any direct impact on its local industry but that it will consider releasing its reserves should there be increased difficulties in securing oil supplies.
As of end-November, the government's oil reserves stood at 96.5 million barrels. When considering those held by the private sector, the amount is estimated at 200 million barrels.
The Middle East accounted for 70 percent of South Korea's crude imports between January and November of 2019, during which an estimated 38 percent of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports also came from the region.
During the visit, Joo also plans to participate in the International Renewable Energy Agency's annual assembly and promote South Korea's new energy drive that centers on utilizing more clean sources, such as hydrogen and less carbon-emitting fossil fuels.
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Source: Yonhap News (Jan. 10, 2020)