President Lee Myung-bak on Saturday will fly to South Africa for a weeklong tour of three African countries, Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday. The trip is part of last-minute efforts to promote Korea’s PyeongChang as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics and to strengthen economic ties.
The president will arrive in Durban, South Africa, on Saturday evening, four days before the International Olympic Committee announces the host city of the 2018 Games on July 6.
Lee plans to speak at the final presentation for PyeongChang on Wednesday to seek support from IOC members.
Lee will also hold summit talks with South African President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma in Durban to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation for nuclear energy and mineral resource development, as well as expansion of trade and investment.
Lee will exchange views on global issues such as the G20, climate change and development cooperation with Zuma, who is arbitrating in the Libyan crisis as representative of the African Union, Lee’s office said. South Africa is a member of the G20.
After spending five nights in Durban, Lee will fly to Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for summit talks on Thursday with President Joseph Kabila.
Lee plans to discuss development of energy resources, infrastructure construction, development aid and agricultural cooperation with Kabila, Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.
Lee will also attend a business forum in DR Congo to meet business leaders from Korea and the central African country. DR Congo is the third largest country in Africa in area terms, which once boasted a thriving mining sector with its rich mineral resources. Two recent conflicts, the First and Second Congo Wars, which began in 1996, have greatly reduced national output and government revenue, in addition to millions of deaths from war, famine and disease, but its economy still relies heavily on mining.
On Friday, Lee will visit the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where he is scheduled to hold summit talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Lee plans to exchange views with Meles on how to share Korea’s development experience, green growth strategies, agricultural collaboration, economic and trade cooperation as well as resources development, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Lee will also to offer flowers at the monument for Korean War veterans in Ethiopia, meet with representatives of Korean residents there, have dinner with Korean volunteers, luncheon with Korean and Ethiopian businessmen, give a speech at the Addis Ababa University and join a volunteer workers’ program.
Lee will depart Ethiopia Sunday to arrive home on Monday, Cheong Wa Dae said.
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com