In summit with Widodo, Moon vows to boost ties

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In summit with Widodo, Moon vows to boost ties

Korean President Moon Jae-in and Indonesian President Joko Widodo vowed on Monday to further their countries’ relationship and cooperation in dealing with regional issues.

“I wish to hold in-depth discussions on ways to further develop the countries’ special strategic partnership today,” Moon told Widodo at the start of their summit at the Blue House.

Widodo arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day state visit to reciprocate Moon’s state visit to his country last year.

The two leaders last met in Jakarta in November, where they agreed to upgrade their countries’ relationship to a special strategic partnership.

The Indonesian president brought up that relationship during his meeting with Moon on Monday.

“What I wish to see is efforts to further develop and strengthen the relationship between the countries,” Widodo told Moon through his interpreter, according to Blue House pool reports, “and I will work to make sure that we will be able to realize actual changes.”

The day started with an official welcome ceremony at Changdeok Palace in central Seoul and was immediately followed by a walk through the palace grounds by the two leaders. After their one-on-one meeting, Moon and Widodo were joined by other high-ranking officials from their respective countries.

The summit mostly focused on ways to increase economic cooperation under Korea’s so-called New Southern Policy, which was unveiled during Moon’s visit to Indonesia last year.

Under the new foreign policy initiative, Moon is seeking to greatly improve his country’s diplomatic and economic ties with South and Southeast Asian countries, including India and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which includes Indonesia.

“The two leaders evaluated the outcome of cooperation between the two countries in the infrastructure sector, including light rail and hydroelectric power generation, and key industrial sectors such as steel and petrochemicals,” the Blue House said in a press release. “They agreed to expand their cooperation to railways, real estate development and smart transportation systems, while promoting practical cooperation for joint prosperity in the automobile, information communication and agricultural sectors.”

The two countries plan to expand their trade relations as Seoul seeks to more than double its trade with Asean nations to $200 billion by 2020 under its New Southern Policy.

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