(ATTN: CORRECTS number of African countries to 54 per presidential office's correction; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah
HIROSHIMA, Japan, May 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol voiced support for the inclusion of the African Union (AU) in the Group of 20 (G-20) on Sunday, his office said.
Yoon expressed the support during a meeting with Comorian President Azali Assoumani on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit, according to presidential spokesperson Lee Do-woon. Azali currently serves as the chairperson of the AU.
"The president stressed that African nations in the Indian Ocean, such as the Comoros, are important partners in our Indo-Pacific Strategy, and said our partnership with the African community of 54 states is becoming more important," Lee said in a written briefing.
"The president said Africa's role is important in the G-20, which discusses sustainable development and economic growth, and officially stated his support for the AU's accession to the G-20," he said.
Azali thanked South Korea for its support and called for strengthening cooperation between South Korea and the AU.
He also expressed his country and Africa's strong wish for South Korea's assistance in improving their food situation, cooperation in manufacturing, education and training, and responding to climate change.
Yoon invited Azali to the inaugural South Korea-Africa summit next year and Azali thanked him for the invitation, expressing his wish to work together for a successful summit.
The two leaders also discussed "blue economy" cooperation for the sustainable use of maritime resources and other issues of mutual interest, and agreed to further strengthen their countries' friendly relations.
Azali said he will support South Korea's bid to serve as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council next year and promised his country will stand with South Korea for world peace.
The meeting, the first South Korea-Comoros summit since 1987, is expected to become an important milestone for bilateral relations and for strengthening South Korea's partnership with Africa in regional and global fora, Lee said.
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