Moon and Xi hold second summit Saturday

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Moon and Xi hold second summit Saturday


Korean President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook arrives at Da Nang International Airport in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday on a three-day visit to take part in an APEC summit. [YONHAP]

Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold their first bilateral summit in four months this week, South Korean officials said Friday, confirming the recent improvement in their ties strained by the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Korea.

Their talks will be held Saturday, their second bilateral meeting since the new Korean president took office in May. They first met in Berlin in July before they headed to Hamburg for a Group of 20 summit.

The second Moon-Xi meeting will be held on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Moon arrived in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang where he was scheduled to attend the APEC summit and a series of bilateral meetings with global leaders, including Xi.

The annual APEC economic leaders’ summit was set to kick off later in the day, involving the leaders of 20 other major economies in the Asia-Pacific region that include the United States and Japan.

Da Nang is the second leg of Moon’s three-nation trip that began Wednesday, one day after he hosted U.S. President Donald Trump for a bilateral summit in Seoul.

At the APEC summit, Moon will seek support for his country’s efforts to denuclearize North Korea, which staged its latest and most powerful nuclear test so far on Sept. 3.

Moon has insisted only the strongest pressure and sanctions against the communist state will force the North to give up its nuclear ambition.

He was widely expected to call for China’s support when he meets his Chinese counterpart here. The leaders have agreed to hold a bilateral summit on the sidelines of the APEC forum, scheduled to end Saturday. China is the North’s largest communist ally, and is said to account for more than 90 percent of the North’s overall trade.

The South Korean leader will also hold a series of bilateral talks with other global leaders before he heads to Manila on Sunday for the East Asia Summit and an annual regional forum involving the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the leaders of South Korea, Japan and China.

His trip to Indonesia marked the first time he made a state visit to a foreign nation since taking office in May.

In a bilateral summit held Thursday, Moon and his Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo agreed to further upgrade the countries’ diplomatic relations to a “special strategic partnership” that will emphasize greater economic and trade cooperation, as well as exchanges between their people.

“The Special Strategic Partnership places greater emphasis on concrete cooperation for the benefit of the two countries and peoples in various fields, particularly in key industries and infrastructures, and on strengthening the two countries’ contribution to the region and the world, especially through their joint efforts including triangular cooperation framework,” they said in a joint statement issued after their bilateral summit.

Efforts to boost exchanges between their people will include simplifying Seoul’s visa issuance procedure for Indonesian tourists to South Korea.

Moon’s trip to the region also came amid efforts to greatly improve South Korea’s relations with Asean.

Under what he calls a “New South Policy,” the South Korean leader said his country seeks to build a win-win relationship with all 10 members of Asean.

Kim Hyun-chul, a senior economic adviser to Moon, said the mutually beneficial policy will require Seoul to boost its imports from the countries to ensure joint development and co-prosperity. “South Korea must expand its imports of agricultural goods or resources from Asean countries in the future,” he said.

On Sunday, Moon will head to Manila for the East Asia Summit. He will return home on Wednesday.

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