By Xu Aiying and Lee Jihae
President Moon Jae-in has used his three-nation tour of Northern Europe to reconfirm cooperation and support from Finland, Norway and Sweden, three key partners in Korea’s policy toward "innovative growth."
On the first leg of his trip in Finland, the president on June 10 signed memorandums of understanding on sectors related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, 6G telecommunication technology and joint research. Both nations also agreed to exchange policies on information and communications technology (ICT) and cooperate in 5G, artificial intelligence and big data.
Seoul and Helsinki will regularly hold meetings on the results of B5G (Beyond 5G) and B6G (Beyond 6G) and seek to form a next-generation global telecommunication network.
Also on June 10, the president visited Otaniemi, a district in Espoo nicknamed the "Silicon Valley of Europe." There, he received briefings on how Finland became the world’s most innovative country in around ten years.
On the second leg of his three-nation Northern European tour in Norway from June 11-13, he and the Norwegian government agreed to arrange a cooperative system in science and technology.
Seoul and Oslo will also establish a joint board on science and technology by 2020 to exchange related policies, as well as press ahead with joint research or projects in renewable energy and ICT. They will also cooperate in producing, recycling and storing hydrogen, a pollution-free energy source.
Arriving in Stockholm on June 13, President Moon will wrap up his Northern European tour after attending the Korea-Sweden Business Summit, where major corporations such as Ericsson, Volvo and IKEA will participate, to bolster bilateral cooperation in ICT and biohealth.
By Jung Joo-ri and Kim Hwaya
The government this year will invest KRW 902.9 billion in clean energy research and development (R&D), the Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy said on May 28.
The ministry added that Korea shared its Mission Innovation (MI) implementation status at MI's fourth annual ministerial conference in Vancouver, Canada.
Announced at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris on Nov. 30, 2015, MI is a global initiative of 23 countries including the U.S., the U.K., Japan and China committed to doubling their public and/or government-directed investments in clean energy R&D by 2021.
All MI member nations have pledged to expand such investments from USD 14.9 billion in 2016 to USD 30 billion in 2021, with Korea aiming to go from USD 490 million to USD 980 million over the period.
Deputy Minister for Energy and Resource Joo Young-Joon said at the conference that Seoul was fully implementing its MI commitment. Korea's investment in clean energy R&D this year is KRW 902.9 billion (USD 760 million), up 61.1 percent from 2016.
The ministry also announced efforts toward technological innovation through joint R&D projects with other MI member countries in eight priority sectors like smart grids, biofuel and hydrogen energy.
A Korea Gas Corporation (KGC) employee explains how LNG is transported to representatives from the Ministry of Trade,
Industry and Energy, in front of a model of the KGC's new LNG terminal, at the KOGAS Incheon LNG Terminal on June 28. (Kim Sunjoo)
By Lee Yoonseo and Kim Young Shin
Interest in clean, renewable energy and related industries is growing across the Korean economy. President Moon Jae-in recently launched a drive to steer away from nuclear power and there's a likely possibility that Korea will be able to import natural gas from the Russian Far East thanks to easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and the recent Korea-Russia summit.
Natural gas, the naturally occurring gas mixture buried underground, is collected by drilling rigs, just like petroleum, to be used for power generation and heating. Depending on the means of transportation, it's called either piped natural gas (PNG), carried through pipelines, or else liquefied natural gas (LNG), carried after being converted into a liquid.
Because PNG is carried to the spot of consumption through a pipeline, it's mostly used in Europe or Northern America, where ground transportation is available.
LNG is liquefied by dropping the temperature to minus 162 C and then carrying it by sea. After an LNG ship arrives with its liquefied gas on board, the Korea Gas Corporation converts the liquid back to a gas at its terminals and then supplies it to power plants and residences.
Even though LNG requires a huge cost for liquefying, transporting and vaporizing, it's impossible for Korea to receive PNG from its origin, as the pipelines would have to cross North Korea by land.
However, a mood of reconciliation has begun to be seen on the Korean Peninsula recently. If South Korea and North Korea successfully establish trilateral economic ties with Russia, importing PNG from Russia overland might become possible.
From Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, the gas could be carried across North Korea to major cities in South Korea. This could remove all the unnecessary conversion process and reduce costs for final consumers in Korea.
On June 22, President Moon and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held a summit and agreed to conduct joint research into connecting Korea to a PNG pipeline. There's much attention being paid to the development of gas cooperation among South Korea, North Korea and Russia, as the economic impact of the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula would be plentiful.