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(2nd LD) Moon arrives in Singapore to take part in ASEAN summits

Politics 18:22 November 13, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with arrival, bilateral meetings; CHANGES dateline)

SINGAPORE, Nov. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in arrived in Singapore on Tuesday for annual summits with Southeast Asian nations and their dialogue partners as he strives to bolster relations with the region and drum up international support for his initiative for peace with North Korea.

During the four-day visit, Moon is scheduled to attend a trio of annual summits hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- a Korea-ASEAN summit, an ASEAN Plus Three summit also involving China and Japan and the broader East Asia Summit.

Presidential officials said Moon plans to propose holding a special Korea-ASEAN summit next year to further solidify relations with the Southeast Asian nations under his "new southward policy." Moon also plans to host a separate summit between Korea and the Mekong River countries of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

On the sidelines of the regional summits, Moon is scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with participating leaders on Wednesday, including one with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moon and Putin last met in June when Moon visited Russia. In Wednesday's meeting, which will be their fourth since Moon took office, the two leaders are expected to focus discussions on moving North Korea's denuclearization forward.

Moon is also scheduled to meet bilaterally with the leaders of Brunei and Laos on Wednesday. Officials said that discussions have been under way to set up a meeting between Moon and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in Singapore.

While in Singapore, Moon also plans to attend regional free trade talks, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), involving the 10 ASEAN nations, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, India and New Zealand.

(2nd LD) Moon arrives in Singapore to take part in ASEAN summits - 1

Singapore is the first leg of Moon's six-day trip that will also take him to Papua New Guinea on Saturday and Sunday for this year's summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum involving Pacific Rim nations.

During the APEC summit, Moon plans to outline his vision for an innovative and inclusive nation and propose creating a joint fund, the APEC Digital Innovation Fund, aimed at improving the region's digital capabilities, officials said.

On the sidelines of the APEC summit, Moon also plans to hold a one-on-one meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Officials said discussions are under way to set up a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The summit with Xi will mark the first between the two in nearly a year after they last met in December last year. Moon plans to use the talks to exchange information on North Korea's denuclearization negotiations and ask for support to move the peace efforts forward.

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