India is 4th to congratulate Moon on his election win

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India is 4th to congratulate Moon on his election win

A fourth government leader, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, congratulated newly elected Korean President Moon Jae-in in a phone call, reflecting his administration’s desire to diversify its diplomatic relations.

Moon and Modi’s conversation took place on Thursday afternoon, after Moon conversed with U.S. President Donald Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This is the first time a Korean president has spoken with an Indian leader right after the country’s most strategic partners: the United States, China, and Japan.

The two leaders agreed to bolster cooperation and Modi invited Moon to India. Moon explained his policy on the North of pressure and dialogue, while Modi said Korea is an economic role model for India, according to Moon’s presidential office.

Modi immediately tweeted after the phone call: “Just spoke with my friend President Moon Jae-in of Korea. Wished him every success & invited him to visit India soon. ‘Together we succeed.’”

The same message was tweeted simultaneously in Korean as well.

The previous day, Moon’s first in office, Modi tweeted his congratulations to the new Korean president: “I look forward to meeting H.E. Mr. Moon Jae-in soon and also look forward to working closely as special strategic partners.” That message was also posted in Korean.

The prime minister has over 29.8 million followers.

Seoul has been trying to bolster diplomatic, economic and security ties with the South Asian giant, which has a population of some 1.3 billion, rivaling China’s.

Seoul is trying to diversify and expand its diplomatic reach after Beijing’s strong backlash over the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) system, which has impacted Korean businesses in China and drastically curbed the flow of Chinese tourists to Korea.

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

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