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Leaders of S. Korea, Laos hold summit to discuss bilateral cooperation

All Headlines 07:15 September 09, 2016

By Song Sang-ho

VIENTIANE, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye and her Laotian counterpart Bounnhang Vorachith will hold a summit in Vientiane on Friday to discuss bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, energy, development, defense and other areas, her office Cheong Wa Dae said.

Park began her official visit to the Southeast Asian country Thursday after a series of bilateral and multilateral summits in the Laotian capital, the third and last leg of her eight-day trip that also took her to Russia and China.

It is the first time that a South Korean president has officially visited Laos.

Aside from economic issues, the two leaders will exchange views on North Korea's escalating nuclear and missile threats and joint efforts to tackle them, Cheong Wa Dae said.

"The summit this time will add fresh momentum to the development of bilateral relations by deepening and expanding exchanges with the new leadership of Laos, which took office in April," Kim Kyou-hyun, senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, told reporters.

Diplomatic ties were severed after Laos became communized in 1975, but the two nations restored formal relations in 1995. North Korea has maintained diplomatic relations with Laos since 1974.

South Korea is Laos' fourth-largest trading partner after Thailand, China and Japan.

Two-way trade, which stood at US$41 million in 2006, reached $198 million last year due in large part to the free trade deal between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which took effect in 2007.

This photo, taken on Sept. 8, 2016, shows President Park Geun-hye speaking during a meeting with South Korean residents in the Laotian capital of Vientiane. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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