South Korean President to visit Thailand, Myanmar, Laos next week


President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech to mark the 74th anniversary of Korea's liberation on Aug. 15, 2019. (Yonhap)

President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech to mark the 74th anniversary of Korea’s liberation on Aug. 15, 2019. (Yonhap)

Seoul: South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to make a tour of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos as part of his key diplomatic initiative of strengthening Seoul’s partnerships with Southeast Asian nations, Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday.

With the weeklong trip to begin September 1, Moon will fulfill his promise to visit all the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) during his presidency.

His administration has endeavored hard to improve ties with ASEAN, highlighted by its New Southern Policy, in a bid to broaden South Korea’s diplomatic base.

In particular, Moon is scheduled to host a special summit with his counterparts from the ASEAN members in Busan on November 25-26. The following day, he will also hold a separate summit there with five ASEAN countries located around the Mekong River — Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

Moon will start his upcoming tour of the region with an “official visit” to Thailand for talks with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Summit agenda items include ways for “substantive cooperation” between the two sides on creating new growth engines. Moon will also request Bangkok’s support for the November summit sessions, as it serves as the rotating chair of ASEAN this year, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson, Ko Min-jung.

Moon will then head to Myanmar on September 3 to meet with its state councilor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

They plan to discuss cooperation on “sustainable win-win growth” of the two nations and “systemic” support for more South Korean firms to do business in Myanmar, Ko said.

Moon will start a three-day trip to Laos on September 5 for a series of meetings with President Bounnhang Vorachith and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

Among the main issues to be discussed are partnerships in hydroelectric power and Seoul’s efforts to improve the living of Laotian people.

Ko said the three countries are a “key pillar” of the New Southern Policy and core partners for the success of the November special summits.


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