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Park pays tribute to Mexican heroes ahead of talks with Pena Nieto

All News 02:44 April 05, 2016

By Kim Kwang-tae

MEXICO CITY, April 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye paid tribute to six Mexican cadets at a monument as she began the third day of her visit to Mexico.

Park laid a wreath at the Heroic Cadets Memorial in Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, a monument that honors the six cadets who fought to the death in 1847 during the Mexican-American War.

Park also attended a formal welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace before holding talks with her Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto.

The summit comes as South Korea is seeking to boost cooperation with Mexico in a wide-range of areas, including trade, energy and transportation.

Mexico is pushing for infrastructure projects worth $590 billion to modernize such sectors as energy, transportation and water resources management.

South Korea hopes to resume stalled talks on a free trade deal, among other things.

South Korea and Mexico launched free trade talks in 2007, but the negotiations have been stalled since 2008 due to strong opposition from the Mexican automobile industry.

Park has said a free trade deal, if signed, could create a win-win situation, as it could open a new gateway in Northeast Asia for Mexico, while South Korea can expand its access to North, Central and South America.

Mexico has become South Korea's largest trading partner in Central and South America.

Bilateral trade volume between the two countries stood at US$14.4 billion last year, up from $4.2 billion in 2005.

The two leaders are also expected to discuss the toughest sanctions imposed on North Korea over its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and long-range rocket launch on Feb. 7.

Mexico has vowed to continue to detain a North Korean freighter despite North Korea's protest.

Mexico detained the Mu Du Bong after identifying the ship as belonging to Ocean Maritime Management, a North Korean firm blacklisted by the U.N. for illegally shipping arms.

The 6,700-ton freighter ran aground on a reef off Tuxpan in the Mexican state of Veracruz in July 2014. Mexico held 33 crewmembers before releasing them last year.

Mexico said it "will continue to detain the ship," according to an official who is in a position to know about government policy. He asked not to be identified, citing policy.


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