Lee to upgrade ties with Asean on upcoming Vietnam trip

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Lee to upgrade ties with Asean on upcoming Vietnam trip

President Lee Myung-bak will travel to Vietnam this week to attend a series of regional meetings in the country, the Blue House said yesterday.

Lee will arrive in Vietnam Thursday before attending a meeting between Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Friday. He will then participate in the Asean Plus Three Summit (South Korea, China and Japan) later Friday and wrap up the trip by attending the East Asia Summit on Saturday.

According to the Blue House, Lee and leaders of Asean member nations will agree to upgrade their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.

“Asean is accelerating its goal of forming a political, security, economic, social and cultural community by 2015,” the Blue House said. “Building a strategic partnership with the association amid rapid changes in East Asia will strengthen Korea’s position in the region.”

Eight of the 10 Asean members are slated to attend the Group of 20 Summit in Seoul next month, and Lee will have bilateral meetings with some of them to strengthen cooperation ahead of the event, the Blue House said.

At the East Asia Summit, Lee will join the leaders of 15 member countries to discuss regional and global issues.

Marking the fifth year of its foundation, the EAS will officially approve memberships for the United States and Russia and discuss a future vision with the two countries.

“The U.S. and Russia joining the EAS will have a significant impact in East Asian regional cooperation,” the Blue House said. “South Korea will actively adopt the expected changes and present constructive opinions on improving cooperation to heighten Korea’s position in the region.”

Lee is also scheduled to have a trilateral meeting with leaders of Japan and China to discuss Northeast Asia issues as well as the G-20 Summit.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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