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South Korea to build robot theme parks

South Korea will build robot theme parks to attract interest in its burgeoning robotics industry.

The Commerce Ministry announced a proposal Tuesday to build two parks by 2013 for 1.48 trillion won (US$1.6 billion, EUR1.1 billion) to boost the competitiveness of the country's robot industry.

The parks - which will combine culture and entertainment with robot technology - are to be built in Incheon, just west of Seoul, and the port city of Masan, about 390 kilometers (242 miles) south of Seoul, the ministry said in a statement.

Visitors will be able to interact with robots and test new products.

The project still needs to be approved in a feasibility study next year before getting off the ground in 2009, the ministry said.

South Korea regards the robot industry as a key area for economic development. It has grown about 40 percent a year since 2003, according to the ministry.

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