South Korea’s PM in Iran for high-level talks
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun has arrived in Tehran for talks with senior Iranian officials.
According to Press TV, he was welcomed by Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami upon arrival on Sunday afternoon.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday that the prime minister’s three-day visit would focus on bilateral issues, including illegal restrictions placed in the way of access to resources of the Central Bank of Iran in South Korea.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported earlier on Sunday that the Korean prime minister was visiting Iran for bilateral talks amid lingering tensions over Tehran's call to unlock its funds frozen in Seoul under the illegal US sanctions.
It added that during his three-day visit that ends on Tuesday, Chung is expected to discuss ways to enhance the Seoul-Tehran relations. The visit marks the first such trip by a South Korean prime minister in 44 years.
On his agenda of talks in Tehran is meeting with President Hassan Rouhani, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Ali Larijani, who is an advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Chung is also scheduled to meet with officials of South Korean companies working in Iran, including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics Inc. and SK Networks Co.
Iranian authorities have said on several occasions that they expect South Korea to do more on the release of nearly $8.5 billion blocked illegally in two South Korean banks under the pretext of US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the measure taken by South Korean banks to freeze the assets for fear of the sanctions constitute the main factor that prevents further expansion of relations between the two countries.
Chung's visit to Iran follows the Islamic Republic's release of a Korean oil tanker and its captain about three months after it was detained on oil pollution.