SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol held a summit with Kenyan President William Ruto on Wednesday and expressed hope for greater bilateral cooperation between the two countries, calling the East African nation Korea's "key partner" in the region.
Ruto, who took office in September, was on a three-day visit this week at Yoon's invitation. He is the first Kenyan president to visit Seoul in 32 years.
During the talks at the Yongsan presidential compound, Yoon stressed that Kenya is the "gateway and logistics hub" for entry into East Africa and a major partner country where South Korean companies have a heavy presence.
"Kenya is a traditional ally that has maintained long friendly relations with our country under the banner of free democracy since the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1964," Yoon said at the start of the summit.
"I hope that today's summit will serve as the occasion for a further strengthening of the bilateral exchanges and cooperation. I hope there will be in-depth discussions in every area of cooperation," Yoon said.
Yoon also thanked Ruto for choosing South Korea as his first Asian country to visit.
Ruto responded that the two countries have "maintained historic ties based on common values and principles, including multilateralism."
"We do not take for granted the true friendship and brotherhood shown by the South Korean side," Ruto said through an interpreter.
First lady Kim Keon-hee was set to meet separately with Rachel Ruto, Kenya's first lady.
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