The agreement was reached during talks between Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and his South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak, Lee's office said.

Sang is in South Korea for a three-day visit. The leaders agreed on the need to strengthen cooperation for peaceful use of atomic power, a joint statement said.

"The two sides took a special note of South Korea's proposals on developing Vietnam's nuclear power plant based on South Korean technologies, nurturing human resources, transferring technologies and cooperation in other related areas," it said.

South Korea operates 20 nuclear plants, which generate some 35 percent of its electricity needs, and plans to build 12 more over the next 14 years.

It has vowed to stick to its atomic power development despite heightened concerns following Japan's earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that caused the world's worst atomic accident in 25 years.

Fast-growing Vietnam faces energy shortages and foreign businesses have expressed concern about a lack of energy and other infrastructure.

Hanoi has recently sought cooperation with nuclear-capable countries to help boost its needs.

Last month it Japan officially secured support to help build two nuclear reactors in Vietnam and in October last year Hanoi signed a deal with Russia worth an estimated $5.6 billion for its first nuclear power plant.

South Korea and Vietnam have boosted economic and diplomatic relations since they normalised ties in 1992. Two-way trade totalled $12.9 billion last year.

They agreed to boost trade to $20 billion earlier than their target year of 2015 and further to $30 billion.

Agence France Presse - November 9, 2011