President Moon Jae-in said the country needs to depend less on "specific nations" when it comes to core materials, adding that this is the way to become an "unshakable" economic powerhouse.
"In order to become a responsible economic powerhouse, we should lessen our dependence on core materials from certain countries. It all starts now. We can demonstrate the strength of South Korea as a manufacturing powerhouse."
While attending an event orchestrated by Hyosung Advanced Materials, the president promised to nurture the nation's carbon fiber industry, in light of Hyosung Group's announcement that it will invest a total of 1-trillion won, or over 827-million dollars in its production line of carbon fiber plant by the year 2028.
Hyosung says the expansion of the production line in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do Province, will place it as the world's number-3 carbon fiber producer.
And the group's carbon fiber business plans to churn out 24-thousand tons of carbon fiber every year at 10 production lines starting 2028.
This material in particular, with one-fourth the weight of steel, but 10 times stronger, is a key element for the hydrogen energy market which in turn feeds the automobile, aerospace and defense industries.
Carbon fiber is also one of the items potentially subject to Japan's tighter export controls against South Korea.
The conglomerate, being the first home-grown company to develop carbon fibers in 2011, helped make South Korea the fourth country to cultivate such technology after Japan, the U.S. and Germany.
However much of the nation's auto industry has been relying on Japan-made carbon fiber for production of fuel storage tanks.
The president's visit to Hyosung plant on Tuesday is seen as part of his determined drive to up the nation's competitiveness in the high-tech materials industry amid an downgrading trade relations with Japan.
Moon, urging local companies to join in on fostering homegrown technologies,promised to support with investments and review possibilities of imbuing preliminary assessment for R&D firms in need of self-reliance.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.