(2nd LD) Leaders of S. Korea, Thailand discuss ways to deepen ties, cooperation
(ATTN: UPDATES with details on immigration agreement in last two paras)
BUSAN, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- The leaders of South Korea and Thailand on Monday discussed ways to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, including investment, infrastructure, science and technology.
President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha held a summit in the port city of Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on the sidelines of a special summit between South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to Moon's office.
The Thai prime minister is visiting here to attend South Korea's two-day summit with the 10-member ASEAN, which kicked off Monday. It is the biggest diplomatic event in the country under Moon's administration.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitment to boosting cooperation for co-prosperity, as agreed during Moon's trip to Thailand in September, and discussed ways to upgrade their partnership in various areas, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
They shared the opinion that there is high potential for bilateral economic cooperation and exchanged views on ways to vitalize cooperation in the fields of investment and infrastructures.
"Thailand is the most important partner for cooperation in terms of South Korea's New Southern Policy," Moon said at the start of the meeting, referring to his government's signature policy to deepen ties with ASEAN and India.
"I hope bilateral cooperation will expand into various areas, including defense, water management, science and technology, infrastructure and exchanges of personnel," he added.
Prayut vowed to play a role in supporting the New Southern Policy.
"The (special) summit will serve as an important turning point in setting the future between South Korea and ASEAN," he said.
Prayut highlighted the need to seek synergy between the New Southern Policy and Bangkok's "Thailand 4.0" initiative, a project aimed at accelerating the growth of innovative, high-tech industries in Bangkok.
The two countries signed a preliminary deal over investment cooperation in three southeastern areas of Bangkok, called the Eastern Economic Corridor. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) is expected to help Korean firms make forays into the Thai auto and tech hub region.
Thailand plans to seek infrastructure development in the region by 2021 and nurture 12 future-generation industries.
They clinched an MOU on science and technology in a bid to deepen the scope of cooperation in such areas as research reactors and satellites.
The nations also agreed to cooperate in fostering a mature migration culture. To this end, a preliminary deal was reached to prevent illegal stay and work by Thais in South Korea, Cheong Wa Dae added.
Under the deal signed by South Korea's justice ministry and Thailand's labor ministry, the two countries plan to share information on illegal immigrants and brokers, as well as those seeking to illegally enter for the purpose of seeking employment in South Korea.
They also agreed to run campaigns to encourage legal immigration and hold annual working-level meetings to discuss relevant topics, the Ministry of Justice said in a press release.
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