|President Park Geun-hye speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday during the G20 summit held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Yonhap News)|
South Korean President Park Geun-hye left for Vietnam on Saturday after attending a summit of the Group of 20 major economies and a series of bilateral meetings in Russia's second-largest city of Saint Petersburg.
The G20 summit wrapped up two days of discussions Friday with a joint communique in which the leaders pledged closer policy coordination to help spur a still-weak recovery of the global economy, tackle high unemployment and address imbalanced growth.
In particular, the leaders agreed to strengthen coordination on the "exit strategies" of advanced economies, saying the central banks of member nations "have committed that future changes to monetary policy settings will continue to be carefully calibrated and clearly communicated."
That reflects an appeal Park made in Thursday's opening session, when she urged advanced nations to be more careful when changing their monetary policies amid concern the planned tapering-off of the U.S. monthly bond-purchasing program, known as quantitative easing, could destabilize emerging economies.
In Friday's closing session, Park also championed her "creative economy" vision and fair market competition as solutions to high unemployment and widening economic inequalities facing the global economy.
Park contends the existing paradigm of economic growth has reached its limit as it is unable to address high unemployment and widening economic inequalities. She says the world needs more creative ideas to develop unheard-of industries that can serve as
new growth engines.
On the sidelines of the summit, Park met bilaterally with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
During a five-day state visit to Vietnam, Park plans to hold summit talks with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang about how to forge a mutually beneficial free trade agreement and strengthen cooperation in nuclear power and industrial technology.
Park plans to use the meeting as the starting point for her "sales diplomacy," a slogan that she has touted in recent months as a commitment to use diplomatic trips and meetings to promote the country's economic interests. The aim is to help Asia's fourth-largest economy recover from a prolonged slump and revitalize itself.
The state visit also includes meetings with other top Vietnamese leaders, such as Nguyen Phu Trong, the secretary-general of the country's Communist Party; Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung; and Parliamentary Speaker Nguyen Sinh Hung, officials said.
On Tuesday, Park plans to make a one-day visit to the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's economic center and home to some 1,800 South Korean companies. About 85,000 South Korean residents live there.
Park plans to meet with the city's party secretary, Le Thanh Hai, as well as Mayor Le Hoang Quan. She will also visit a South Korean-run factory and hold a meeting with Korean residents there before flying back to Hanoi, officials said.
She will be the first South Korean president to visit Ho Chi Minh City in nine years. (Yonhap News)