President Moon Jae-in will hold a series of one-on-one summits with the leaders of 10 Southeast Asian countries gathering in South Korea later this month for a special summit Seoul is hosting for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday.
Moon has invited them to the two-day ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit to open Nov. 25 in the southern port city of Busan. It will be the biggest diplomatic event to take place in South Korea under the Moon administration.
Moon is scheduled to kick off the dayslong summit diplomacy on ASEAN with bilateral talks with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Seoul on Saturday. Lee is making an "official" visit to South Korea.
Next Sunday, Moon plans to meet with Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in the capital, who is to pay a state visit.
He will also greet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Nov. 27 and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad the following day, both of whom are due in Seoul for official visits.
Moon plans to meet bilaterally with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Busan on the sidelines of the South Korea-ASEAN group summit designed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the dialogue partnership between the two sides, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon's upcoming bilateral summits with the 10 ASEAN leaders are "expected to serve as a chance for mapping out a clearer blueprint for future cooperation" on the basis of their friendly ties that have been cemented for the past 2 1/2 years, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung said at a press briefing.
She pointed out that Moon has already kept his promise to travel to all 10 ASEAN member nations during his presidency as part of the New Southern Policy.
She added that the summits will provide South Korea an opportunity for "wide-ranging, in-depth" discussions on ways to upgrade brisk partnerships by another notch in trade, investment, infrastructure, defense, arms development, agriculture, health care, development cooperation, culture and people-to-people exchanges.
Also on the agenda is the Korea peace process. Moon will seek the reaffirmation of Southeast Asian nations' support for Seoul's peace efforts and he's looking forward to having consultations on promoting ties on peace and stability in the region and the international community as well, beyond the peninsula, Ko said.
She said the government views the group and separate summits with ASEAN members as a "precious opportunity" to bolster the foundation for a "prosperous, people-centered peace community" and deepen Seoul's friendly, cooperative relations with them.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit is slated to take place in Busan on Nov. 27 involving five nations: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The Republic of Korea is South Korea's official name, and ASEAN is the acronym of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Yonhap)