Lee to take trip to explore a new shipping route

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Lee to take trip to explore a new shipping route

President Lee Myung-bak will visit Russia to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week and tour Greenland, Norway and Kazakhstan to promote Korea’s cooperative relationships with the countries in a trip that the Blue House calls the exploration of a “new Korean route.”

Lee will leave for Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept. 7 to attend a two-day leaders’ meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9.

At the regional talks, the member countries will discuss topics such as expanding free trade and investment networks, integration of regional economies, food security and innovative growth. Lee will present Korea’s initiatives for each theme, the Blue House said.

Bilateral summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other participating leaders are currently being scheduled, according to a presidential official.

While the Japanese media reported that North Korea wanted to participate in the APEC summit as a guest, it was not confirmed if the communist regime will send a delegation to the summit.

Following the regional talks, Lee will travel to Greenland, autonomous region in Denmark, at the joint invitation of Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist of Greenland. He will visit Ilulissat in western Greenland, located about 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, to witness climate change.

Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2004, the Ilulissat Icefjord is known as the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where glaciers from the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era still remain, said Kim Sang-hyup, senior presidential secretary for green growth, adding that global warming caused its rapid melting.

During his meeting with Kleist, Lee will discuss an environmentally friendly exploration of natural resources of Greenland.

Lee, then, will visit Norway from Sept. 10-12 and discuss economic cooperation efforts. A summit with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will take place on Sept. 12 and opening a new Arctic maritime route from Busan to Rotterdam of the Netherlands will be a key issue.

The proposed 12,700-kilometer route will cut the distance from Korea to Europe by 37 percent.

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