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S. Korea's PM to attend APEC gathering in place of president

All Headlines 11:41 November 17, 2016

SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn will attend the Asia-Pacific leaders' summit meeting to be held in Peru later this week, his office said Thursday, standing in for President Park Geun-hye who has been embroiled in a scandal involving her influence-meddling confidante.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting is set to run for two days in the Peruvian capital of Lima on Saturday and Sunday. It marks the first time that a South Korean prime minister will attend the gathering instead of presidents since it first kicked off in 1993.

The decision came as Park is currently facing the worst crisis of her political career, amid allegations that her confidante of more than 40 years meddled in state affairs. The behind-the-scenes player Choi Soon-sil is suspected of using her ties with Park to secure personal favors.

During the visit, Hwang is anticipated to seek ways to cope with the rising protectionism in global trades along with the sluggish global economy.

The prime minister will also exchange ideas on expanding ties with partners in Latin America such as Peru, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Hwang will meet Martin Alberto Vizcarra Cornejo, the first vice president of Peru, to exchange opinions on various areas including infrastructure, health care and energy, as well as the North Korean nuke issue.

South Korea and Peru clinched a free trade agreement in 2011. Hwang also met the first vice president during his visit to Seoul in September.

colin@yna.co.kr
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