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(LEAD) Moon to join ASEAN-related summits this week

Diplomacy 13:59 November 10, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

SEOUL, Nov. 10 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in plans to participate in a series of ASEAN-related summits this week, via video links, with a focus on Seoul's cooperation with Southeast Asian nations and the greater Asia-Pacific region, Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

Moon will hold an online group summit with leaders of ASEAN, a regional intergovernmental organization comprised of 10 Southeast Asian nations, on Thursday to discuss Seoul's cooperation with member nations in various fields.

During the summit, Moon plans to announce Seoul's New Southern Policy Plus Strategy, an upgraded version of the New Southern Policy initiative being pushed for by the Moon administration to deepen ties with Southeast Asian partners.

According to Cheong Wa Dae, the strategy includes seven new directions of cooperation, including a comprehensive plan to cooperate in public health, a key area of interest among the global community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Moon will hold a group summit with leaders of the five Mekong River nations -- Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand -- to discuss ways to forge deeper ties.

In 2019, Moon and the leaders of the Mekong nations held their first summit in the southern port city of Busan. They adopted a joint declaration centered on enhancing their economic development cooperation in resources, farming and the environment by sharing Korea's experience of rapid post-war growth.

This file photo shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in holding a teleconference with leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China and Japan at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on April 14, 2020, to discuss ways to tackle the new coronavirus pandemic, in this photo released by the presidential office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Moon on Saturday will also join the 23nd ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit, a dialogue between the heads of ASEAN together with South Korea, China and Japan.

The APT summit was launched in December 1997 at the time of an Asia-wide financial crisis. The ASEAN members invited the Northeast Asian powers on the occasion of the 30th founding anniversary of ASEAN.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is scheduled take part in his first APT summit since taking office in September.

Also on Saturday, Moon is scheduled to attend the East Asian Summit (EAS) session involving the ASEAN members, South Korea, Japan, China, the United States, Russia, Australia, India and New Zealand.

At the EAS summit, Moon is expected to highlight Seoul's efforts toward the goal of making the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free and bringing about peace in the region.

This file photo shows President Moon Jae-in speaking during a meeting with his senior secretaries at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Nov. 9, 2020.

On Sunday, Moon plans to participate in a signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

When signed, the RCEP deal will create one of the world's largest economic blocs, as the 15 involved countries together account for about 45 percent of the global population and over 30 percent of the world's gross domestic product.

"Free trade within the massive economic bloc will open new opportunities for our companies and people from the new promotion of trade and investment, as well as diversification of export markets," said Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.


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