updated 11/13/2007 2:44:41 PM ET 2007-11-13T19:44:41

Forget Disneyland. South Korea hopes to draw interest to its burgeoning robotics industry with robot theme parks.

The Commerce Ministry announced a proposal Tuesday to build two parks by 2013 for $1.6 billion.

South Korea regards robotics — which includes software and hardware used mostly in manufacturing but also in some consumer appliances and other devices — as a key area for economic development. The young field has grown about 40 percent a year since 2003, according to the ministry.

Combining culture and entertainment with robot technology, they are to be built in Incheon, just west of Seoul, and the port city of Masan, about 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.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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