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Lee to embark on African trip dominated by IOC meeting on Winter Olympics

All Headlines 16:29 June 26, 2011

SEOUL, June 26 (Yonhap) -- President Lee Myung-bak will leave this week for a nine-day trip to Africa for high-profile diplomacy to boost South Korea's chances of winning the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, his office said Sunday.

South Korea's alpine town of PyeongChang is competing against Munich, Germany, and Annecy, France, to host the Olympic Games after being defeated in two previous consecutive attempts to host the Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is scheduled to select the host city during its meeting in Durban, South Africa, on July 6.

Lee plans to make a case for PyeongChang during a presentation to IOC officials ahead of the crucial vote.

In Durban, Lee is also scheduled to hold summit talks with his South African counterpart, Jacob Juma, to discuss ways to strengthen economic ties and expand cooperation in energy and natural resources.

Lee will then travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he will become the first South Korean president to visit since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1963.

Lee is set to meet with President Joseph Kabila to discuss ways to develop rich natural resources and build social infrastructure in the African country.

The trip comes as South Korea is pushing to strengthen its energy diplomacy with countries rich in oil and other mineral resources.

On the last leg of his trip, Lee will visit Ethiopia from July 8 to 11 for a meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to exchange opinions in boosting economic cooperation, including the development of natural resources.

Lee also plans to offer flowers at a monument honoring Ethiopia's participation in the 1950-53 Korean War and deliver a speech at Addis Ababa University.

Ethiopia sent thousands of soldiers to the U.S.-led U.N. forces to help South Korea fight against North Korean troops during the conflict, which ended in an armistice.

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