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(LEAD) Moon arrives in Canberra for state visit to deepen ties, secure supply chain

All News 19:57 December 12, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with arrival; AMENDS first 2 paras, para 8, headline, dateline)

CANBERRA, Dec. 12 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in arrived in Canberra on Sunday for a four-day state visit that is expected to focus on deepening bilateral ties and securing a stable supply chain of raw materials and core minerals.

Moon is the first South Korean president to pay a state visit to Australia in 12 years. He is also the first foreign leader that the country has invited since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

On Monday, Moon will hold a summit with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Strengthening cooperation in the fields of carbon-neutral technology, the hydrogen economy, defense industry, space and cyberspace is expected to top the agenda.

After the summit, Moon will attend a state luncheon hosted by Australian Governor-General David Hurley.

Also on Monday, Moon will visit a monument for Australian veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War and pay his respects at the Australian National Korean War Memorial. Australia fought alongside South Korea during the war to help defend the South from North Korea's invasion.

On Tuesday, Moon will visit Sydney, where he will meet with Anthony Albanese, leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party, and hold a meeting with Australian business leaders on a supply chain issue of key mining products, Park said.

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook pose for the camera ahead of departure for a visit to Australia on Dec. 12, 2021. (Yonhap)

South Korea and Australia mark the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties this year.

A senior presidential official said that Moon's visit to Australia is expected to help South Korea secure key mining products, such as rare earth and lithium, amid the pandemic-hit disruption of global supply chains.

"The value of strategic cooperation with Australia is significant as demand for key mining products, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare earth, are expected to jump," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Australia also hopes that it will expand exports of key minerals to South Korea, the official said.

The two nations will upgrade their relations to a "comprehensive strategic relationship" in the wake of Moon's visit, the official said.

Moon will return home on Wednesday.

kdh@yna.co.kr
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