▲ The Ukraine Reconstruction Cooperation Group, led by Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong, visited Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, on the 13th (local time) and was accompanied by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with a delegation from the Republic of Korea Reconstruction Cooperation in Kyiv and asked for cooperation in four areas: nuclear power plants, defense industry, resource development, and reconstruction projects.

President Zelensky personally met with the Reconstruction Cooperation Group and asked for support, and it is evaluated that the ROK government and companies have a good opportunity to participate in the reconstruction project in Ukraine, which is estimated to be worth about 1,200 trillion won.

The Public-Private Reconstruction Cooperation Group, headed by Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong, and composed of 18 public and private companies including Samsung C&T, Hyundai E&C, Hyundai Rotem, and Korea Water Resources Corporation, returned to Korea this morning (16th) after a visit to Ukraine.

According to the Reconstruction Cooperation Agency, President Zelensky, who met with the cooperation team on the 13th (local time), first asked for cooperation in the field of nuclear power plants.

President Zelensky said that South Korea's cooperation in large-capacity nuclear power plant technology is necessary, and that the construction of a new energy grid in Europe is expected to increase the demand for nuclear power plants.

We also requested cooperation in solar power generation technology and cooperation in the development and expansion of oil refineries.

A businessman who participated in the cooperation group said, "President Zelensky seemed to have the idea that energy means security," and that "Ukraine and South Korea should cooperate in the energy field with the aim of the European Union (EU) market."

President Zelensky is also reported to have come up with the idea of jointly developing lithium mines, a key material for secondary batteries, with South Korea.

It means that it is possible to produce related products following lithium mining in Ukraine, and a large number of lithium deposits have been identified in eastern Ukraine.

We also asked for cooperation in the defense sector.

President Zelenskyy suggested that "Ukraine has information about Russia's latest weapons, so if South Korea's defense manufacturing technology is combined, it is possible to make NATO-level weapons and export them to Europe," an official from the Reconstruction Cooperation Agency said.

President Zelensky also emphasized that although the war has destroyed much of the country's manufacturing base, the country's manufacturing infrastructure and technical manpower are solid, and he hoped that Korean companies would invest in manufacturing industries such as automobiles.

He then stated that it was necessary to establish a new high-speed rail line between Warsaw and Kyiv in Poland and asked for cooperation.

It is just that there is sufficient demand and profitability, since the number of Ukrainians who have settled in Poland since the war has exceeded 1 million.

President Zelenskyy also explicitly referred to the Korea Water Resources Corporation and asked for assistance in restoring the dam.

Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong replied, "Korean government agencies and private companies will actively support cooperation in various fields."

The government believes that Samsung C&T and Hyundai E&C will be able to cooperate in the case of technical cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants, and Hanwha will be able to cooperate in solar power generation technology.

Minister Won Hee-ryong told President Zelensky, "Lithium secondary battery technology is owned by several Korean companies, and we believe that it will be possible to support the development of green hydrogen and the production of automobiles."

In particular, he said that he thinks that the solid line of the Warsaw-Kyiv high-speed rail line in Poland, which President Zelensky requested, can be promoted as soon as possible.

The meeting between the Reconstruction Cooperation Mission and President Zelensky lasted nearly one hour.

A businessman from the cooperation group said, "I could feel Ukraine's willingness to take the devastation of the June 25 war as a model for Korea, which has become a powerful country with international support."

The government plans to send a second reconstruction cooperation team led by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to Ukraine within this year.

(Photo = Courtesy of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, Yonhap News)