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S. Korean minister promotes 'New Southern Policy' in Singapore

All News 15:43 August 01, 2018

By Lee Chi-dong

SINGAPORE, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha strived on Wednesday to publicize the government's efforts to expand cooperation with Southeast Asian countries, as their annual high-level gathering is underway in Singapore.

Last year, the Moon Jae-in administration announced the "New Southern Policy" aimed at improving relations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as India and Pakistan.

South Korea has long made efforts to diversify its diplomatic and economic partners, but the liberal-minded Moon has sought notably to reduce Seoul's dependence on traditional trade partners such as the United States and China.

In her bilateral talks with Malaysia's top diplomat Saifuddin Abdullah, the first official activity in her weeklong tour here, Kang introduced the Asian diplomatic initiative.

"I can only assure you of my very best cooperation and support for our engagement here but also of course at the bilateral level for South Korea-Malaysia relations," she said at the opening of the meeting held at the EXPO Convention and Exhibition Center.

It's the venue for the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related sessions that opened on Tuesday.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) shakes hands with her Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah in a Singapore meeting on Aug. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Malaysian minister said his government also values ties with South Korea and supports peace on the peninsula.

He talked about K-pop singers, who are popular in Malaysia, as an example of how Korean culture is influential there.

Kang also had a one-on-one meeting with Myanmar's Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin.

She briefed him on South Korea's regional peace campaign highlighted in the two recent inter-Korean summits followed by the landmark talks between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea.

She also reaffirmed Seoul's commitment to expanding development cooperation with a nation with great economic potential.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) talks with Myanmar's Minister for International Cooperation Kyaw Tin in Singapore on Aug. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Myanmar minister requested support for the country's youth hoping to launch startups.

Kang is also scheduled to have bilateral talks with her Vietnamese, Cambodian, Brunei and Laotian counterparts later in the day.

Singapore is the rotating host of this year's ASEAN gathering.

The ASEAN bloc is South Korea's second-largest trade partner, with the two-way trade volume totaling US$149.1 billion in 2017.


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