Park prepares for first official visit to Mongolia

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Park prepares for first official visit to Mongolia

President Park Geun-hye plans to kick off a five-day trip to Mongolia on July 14 to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and hold her first official state visit to the country, the Blue House announced on Monday.

Park will head to Ulaanbaatar, where she will attend the two-day 11th ASEM, which takes place on July 15 and 16.

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union through its recent referendum, known as “Brexit,” is expected to be a key topic of discussion by the European and Asian leaders at the summit, alongside matters of security, economics, and other regional and global issues.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ASEM dialogue, which was inaugurated in Bangkok, and the meeting’s theme is “20 years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity.”

Park is also expected to use the meeting to emphasize the importance of international cooperation with regard to the denuclearization of North Korea. Other Asian leaders including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are also expected to be in attendance.

After the ASEM, Park will then hold bilateral talks with her Mongolian counterpart President Tsakhia Elbegdorj. The two are scheduled to hold a joint press conference afterwards.

The two sides will discuss how to bolster economic cooperation as well as new joint projects in areas such as energy, health care and cultural exchange.

They are also expected to exchange views on the situation in Pyongyang, and the Blue House has said that the two sides are expected to hold in-depth talks on how to increase mutual cooperation regarding the North Korean nuclear issue. Elbegdorj visited Pyongyang in 2013, but did not meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Park will also attend a Korea-Mongolia business forum and meet with overseas Koreans.

South Korea established bilateral relations with Mongolia in 1990, and former president Lee Myung-bak last visited Mongolia in 2011.

President Elbegdorj visited Korea in May, and with Park’s visit this month, the Blue House said that it “looks forward to strengthen the momentum of its mutually beneficial relationship with Mongolia in the areas of politics, economy and culture.”

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]

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