Moon going to Vietnam to get support for diplomacyPresident Moon Jae-in will make an official visit to Vietnam next week, the Blue House said Thursday, part of his efforts to rally regional support for his upcoming summit with North Korea’s reclusive leader.
Moon will embark on a three-day trip to Hanoi next Thursday, according to presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.
He will hold a bilateral summit with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and meet other Vietnamese leaders.
It will be Moon’s first official visit to Vietnam since taking office in May 2017, despite his attendance at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, in November.
Vietnam is South Korea’s third-largest trading partner, with South Korean exports to Vietnam coming to $47.7 billion last year. The 2017 tally accounted for 8.3 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments, compared with 3.9 percent in 2014. The countries launched a bilateral free trade agreement in December 2015.
Vietnam is also a member of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), all of which have diplomatic ties with the communist North.
Highlighting the importance of their support and cooperation in efforts to influence the way North Korea behaves, the South Korean president earlier vowed to visit each and every one of the ASEAN member countries before his five-year term ends in 2022.
Moon’s trip to Hanoi also comes ahead of his scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un late next month.
Vietnam is only the second ASEAN nation to which Moon will make an official visit following his trip to Indonesia last year.
The South Korean president will head to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next Saturday on an apparent fence-mending visit.
Moon’s trip to the UAE follows a January visit to Seoul by Khaldoon Al Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi, who was then acting as a special envoy of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.
Earlier reports here have suggested Seoul’s former conservative administration may have signed a secret, and possibly illegal, agreement with the UAE that requires Seoul’s military involvement in conflicts concerning the Middle Eastern country.
Moon earlier refused to disclose details of any such deals with the UAE, saying he will respect any agreement not to do so, even if it was reached by his predecessors.