South Korea's president to visit Vietnam next week amid strong business ties

By Staff reporters   March 17, 2018 | 08:25 pm PT
South Korea's president to visit Vietnam next week amid strong business ties
South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a ceremony celebrating the 99th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement against Japanese colonial rule, at Seodaemun Prison History Hall in Seoul, South Korea, March 1, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji.
The visit is aimed at deepening bilateral relations as part of South Korea's 'New Southern Policy.'

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife will pay a three-day official visit to Vietnam starting next Thursday, according to Vietnam's foreign ministry.

During the visit, Moon will attend a summit with his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang, and meet other government leaders, including General Secretary of the Communist Party Nguyen Phu Trong.

This will be Moon's first official visit to Vietnam since he took office last May, and his second visit to Vietnam after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang last November.

The South Korean president's economic delegation will include top executives of Samsung Electronics, the Hyundai Motor Group, SK Innovation and LG Chem, Yonhap reported.

Vietnam is currently South Korea's third largest trade partner and South Korea is Vietnam's second largest trade partner, with bilateral trade volume reaching nearly $61.6 billion last year, according to Vietnam Customs. South Korea is also Vietnam's biggest foreign investor, with its firms investing more than $50 billion in Vietnam between 1988 and 2016.

Moon's visit to Vietnam will be his second official visit to an ASEAN country as part of his "New Southern Policy," which aims to elevate South Korea's relations with ASEAN to the same level as its relations with the U.S., Japan, China and the E.U.

"Vietnam is our largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, and a core partner country for our New Southern Policy," Reuters quoted Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom as saying.

During the Vietnam visit, Moon is also expected to seek ASEAN support and cooperation ahead of the historic inter-Korean summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next month. Stressing the importance of ASEAN in de-escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula, Moon has promised to visit all 10 of its member states before the end of his term in 2022.

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