By: Khatereh Noorshid
It appears signing thirty joint economic cooperation between Iran and South Korea put the smile both President Hassan Rouhani and President Park Geun-hye faces, and might be the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shared a joke during a joint press conference after their meeting in Tehran on May 2nd .
According to South Korean Newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun the two governments agreed to jointly develop projects in a variety of areas, including oil and gas, transport and health, worth $37.1 billion in total.
Although there are possibilities that economic Park diplomacy wins support but lacks substance, however President Park Geun-hye may well look back on her visit to Iran earlier this month with a certain amount of satisfaction, after signing 30 joint economic cooperation projects.
South Korean newspaper Kyunghyang Shinmun revealed only 6 of the agreements are legally binding. With the rest mostly based on memorandums of understanding, there is no guarantee the majority will ever come to fruition.
Typically South Kore have often used the announcement of grand economic cooperation projects overseas as a tactic to help boost public support. In addition Past overseas trips have seen Park’s economic diplomacy win her widespread support. On visits to China and the Middle East, she sealed a number of joint projects with the aid of large delegations from the private sector and various economic organizations.
Despite the number of agreements with Tehran and having accompanied by a record 236 delegates. This time however, approval ratings remained largely unchanged at around 30%, according to polls from Gallup Korea The public may be becoming slightly more cautious when gauging the government’s economic diplomacy.
South Korea’s drive to win overseas projects does offer some lessons for other countries in the region. However, securing an agreement at the expense of profitability raises obvious questions.
A representative of South Korea believes “The government should conduct economic diplomacy that focuses more on pragmatism than on nonbinding MOUs”.