By Andy Sambidge
Massive increase in demand for oil and gas products to fuel South Korean industries.
South Korea's imports from Middle East countries jumped 51.7 percent in the first five months of this year, compared to the same period last year.
The increase in imports saw South Korea purchase more oil and gas products to fuel its industries, the government said on Monday.
The country imported $34bn worth of products up until the end of May from countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, news agency WAM reported.
Meanwhile, exports rose 17.4 percent to $10.7bn for a trade deficit of $23.3 billion, the government added.
South Korean construction firms have been heavily involved in some of the Gulf's biggest projects including Dubai Metro and a $18.6bn contract was awarded in December to Korea Electric Power Corp to build four nuclear plants in the UAE by 2020.
South Korea aims to secure $400bn in nuclear contracts by 2030 as demand for nuclear power increases, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in January.