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S. Korean president to attend APEC summit, meet Chinese, Vietnamese leaders

2017/11/11 06:00

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DANANG, Vietnam, Nov. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to attend the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and hold bilateral talks with the leaders of China and Vietnam on Saturday.

After a visit to Indonesia, Moon arrived here on Friday, the second stop in his three-nation Southeast Asia trip, which will take him to Manila, the Philippines, on Sunday.

Moon will hold his first summit with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in the morning, to discuss ways to boost trade and improve overall ties.

Vietnam is the third-largest importer of South Korean products. In the first seven months of the year, South Korean exports to Vietnam came to US$26.95 billion, spiking 49.8 percent from the same period last year, according to data released by the Korean Customs Service.

In Jakarta, Moon unveiled his New South Policy aimed at greatly improving Seoul's diplomatic and economic relations with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Moon has emphasized ties with Southeast Asian countries which have emerged as a locomotive of global growth and can play important roles for the peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. All ASEAN countries have diplomatic ties with the reclusive North.

The South Korean leader is scheduled to attend the annual East Asia Summit, slated to be held in Manila next week, involving ASEAN states and its regional partner countries. It will be followed by a separate forum hosted by ASEAN.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves, along with his wife Kim Jung-sook, after arriving in Danang, Vietnam on Nov. 10, 2017, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (Yonhap) South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves, along with his wife Kim Jung-sook, after arriving in Danang, Vietnam on Nov. 10, 2017, for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (Yonhap)

Later on Saturday, Moon will attend a series of APEC meetings, including two rounds of summit talks that will involve the leaders of the 21 member economies including the United States, Japan and China.

Then he will hold a bilateral summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping later in the day.

The Moon-Xi meeting will mark the second of its kind since the new South Korean leader came into office in May.

North Korea and its nuclear ambition will likely top the agenda of their talks, while Cheong Wa Dae officials note the leaders will also discuss ways to improve, if not normalize, the countries' ties.

Seoul-Beijing relations long remained at the bottom of their lowest ebb amid a Chinese protest against the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system, THAAD, in South Korea.

The countries agreed late last month to put bilateral ties back on the right track.

Many believe the Moon-Xi meeting will likely mark the start of efforts to normalize the ties.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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