South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Monday South Korea should use the so-called "second Middle East boom" as a new economic growth engine as she renewed calls to revitalize the economy.
Park views the Middle East as one of key sources of new opportunities for the South Korean economy, citing potential massive construction and infrastructure projects in the region.
"We should make aggressive efforts to use the second Middle East boom as a new growth engine of our economy," Park said in a regular meeting with her senior secretaries at the presidential office.
South Korea has a track record of weathering the oil shocks in the 1970s by sending tens of thousands of engineers and workers to the Middle East during a construction boom in the region, according to South Korea's News Agency (Yonhap).
She made the comments as she prepares to embark on a nine-day trip next week that will take her to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
She also called for efforts to ensure that the National Assembly can pass through a set of bills meant to revitalize the economy, saying economic revitalization is her top priority.
Her comments came more than a week after the International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for South Korea to 3.7 percent from 4 percent earlier this month.
South Korea's central bank cut its base rate by two times last year to a record low of 2 percent in October, in order to support the government's stimulus.