|President Park Geun-hye meets with the welcoming delegates upon arriving in Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday to attend the APEC summit. (Yonhap News)|
BALI, Indonesia ― President Park Geun-hye arrived in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, embarking on an eight-day trip to deepen cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries in trade, business and other areas of mutual interests.
During her fourth overseas trip, Park is to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on the Indonesian island and premier meetings with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Brunei.
A day before the start of the two-day APEC summit Monday, Park delivered a keynote speech during the CEO summit. She stressed the importance of business innovation ― a centerpiece of her “creative economy” drive and called for deeper regional economic cooperation to fight global economic slump.
“The creative economy has no boundaries for growth and thus can achieve the ‘sustainable growth,’” Park said in her speech titled “The Business of Innovation: Why does it Matter?”
Emphasizing that the universal resource of creativity can ease international growth imbalances, Park said fostering creativity among the poor would help create inclusive growth.
For this, Park said her government was working to “boldly” abolish regulations that hinder convergence and new industries, and transform the nation’s regulatory regime from a “positive system” to a negative one. A positive system specifies which activities are allowed. Negative systems are more liberal, allowing all activities in principle except for those specifically banned.
To promote “new ideas, new technologies and new industries,” Korea is working to improve financing structure such as by activating M&As and providing tailored monetary polices per growth level of each business, she said.
While fortifying education to foster creativity, Park said Korea is also pushing to realize an open innovation by jumping through systematic and cultural walls between each country such as by implementing free trade agreements.
During the APEC summit themed “Towards Resilience and Growth: Reshaping Priorities for Global Economy,” Park is expected to stress multilateral trade cooperation with the 21-member organization that accounts for 57 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
While at the summit, Park is also expected to reveal Seoul’s stance on the ongoing negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership ― a mooted deal for a free-trade bloc linking Pacific-rim states.
Some 12 countries including the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico have been in the negotiations. Seoul is wary about the TPP due to the possible backlash from the agricultural sector and the displeasure expressed by Beijing, which views the U.S.-led TPP as another tool to counter its rise.
On the sidelines of the APEC gatherings, Park is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with leaders of China, Peru, Mexico and Canada on Monday to enhance economic cooperation with the countries.
But the summit between Park and U.S. President Barack Obama will not take place as Obama canceled his trip for the APEC amid a domestic political deadlock over a partial government shutdown.
After the close of the APEC summit on Wednesday, Park will fly to Brunei to participate in a summit with 10-member ASEAN and an expanded meeting with ASEAN, China and Japan.
There, Park plans to rev up her sales diplomacy with ASEAN ― South Korea’s second-largest trade market.
She will also strive to expand cooperation with ASEAN in security, economic and social sectors to secure strategic interests as global powers such as the U.S. and China attempt to deepen their ties with the association.
In Brunei, she will also attend the East Asia Summit, which involves the U.S., Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand. During these multilateral forums, Park and her counterparts are to touch on security, the economy and other key global issues.
After her schedule in Brunei, Park is to head back to Indonesia on Thursday for a three-day state visit. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has invited her as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations.
During their summit, the two leaders are to discuss ways to expand their cooperation in energy, the environment, economy and other areas of mutual interest.
Park also plans to explore ways to help South Korean companies participate in a series of large-scale infrastructure construction projects in Indonesia.
Park is to be accompanied by a 71-member business delegation including Park Yong-man, the chairman of the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin, and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kang Ho-moon.
Park is to return home on Sunday morning.
By Song Sang-ho, Korea Herald correspondent