Moon seeks stronger ties with Vietnam, UAE on trip

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (L) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (R) arrive at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi on March 22, 2018. Moon is on a three-day state visit to Vietnam. LUONG THAI LINH / POOL / AFP
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (L) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (R) arrive at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi on March 22, 2018. Moon is on a three-day state visit to Vietnam. Luong Thai Linh/Pool/AFP

Moon seeks stronger ties with Vietnam, UAE on trip

by Choi He-suk

SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Hanoi on Thursday for a three-day visit that will include a summit meeting with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.

President Moon Jae-in on Thursday began his state visit to Vietnam, seeking to strengthen bilateral ties and economic cooperation.

As his first stop in Vietnam, Moon was to meet with Park Hang-seo, the head coach of Vietnam’s national under-23 soccer team. Moon’s second stop was to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam-Korea Institute of Science and Technology.

The institute is modeled after the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, and the $70 million cost will be divided equally between the two countries. The construction of the institute is scheduled for completion in 2020.

On Friday, Moon will hold a summit with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang. During the visit, Moon will meet with top Vietnamese officials including Communist Party of Vietnam General-Secretary Nguyen Phu Trọng, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thị Kim Ngan.

According to a high-level government official, the priority of Moon’s visit to Vietnam is to consolidate a relationship of “future-oriented strategic partners.”

Vietnam is Seoul’s fifth-largest trading partner, and according to Cheong Wa Dae, is central to Moon’s new southern policy.

The new southern policy is Moon’s plan for expanding the country’s diplomatic and economic ties with Asian nations to the south of the peninsula. The policy goes in tandem with the new northern policy, which aims to achieve similar goals with Korea’s northern neighbors.

Also on Friday, Moon will attend a business forum with Korean and Vietnamese business leaders. He will be accompanied by a large delegation of business leaders including Park Yong-man, president of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin.

As he did on his state visit to China, Moon will wrap up his stay Saturday with breakfast at a restaurant frequented by ordinary citizens of Hanoi, Cheong Wa Dae said.

From Vietnam, Moon will travel to the United Arab Emirates, where he meet with its leaders, and attend a ceremony marking the completion of a nuclear power plant in Baraka.

The ceremony will mark the end of the construction phase, and power generation is set to start at the end of the year or early next year.

While in the UAE, Moon hopes to upgrade relations with the UAE to that of “special strategic partners,” Cheong Wa Dae officials said ahead of Moon’s departure.

In an attempt to help South Korean corporations build connections in the UAE, a number of business leaders accompanying Moon will be included in the president’s meetings with the leaders of the Middle Eastern country.

Korean businessmen accompanying Moon to the UAE include Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-keun of Samsung Electronics, and SK Innovation CEO and President Kim Jun.

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