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Park arrives in Indonesia for 'sales diplomacy' visit

JAKARTA -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye arrived in Indonesia's capital on Thursday for a three-day state visit aimed mainly at boosting economic cooperation with the world's fourth-populous nation rich in energy and resources.

Jakarta is the last stop of Park's weeklong trip to Southeast Asia that earlier took her to Indonesia's resort island of Bali for a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and then to Brunei for a series of regional summits led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The latest overseas trip is part of Park's "sales diplomacy" campaign aimed at bolstering South Korea's economic and business interests. Last month, she made a similar business-oriented visit to Vietnam and agreed to conclude bilateral free trade talks next year and cooperate on Vietnam's nuclear power development.

On Friday, Park plans to attend a ceremony marking the completion of South Korea's new embassy building in Jakarta before attending a roundtable meeting with South Korean and Indonesian business leaders. She also plans to visit a leading South Korean company operating in Indonesia.

Her summit with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is set for Saturday.

Park plans to discuss ways for South Korea to expand investment in Indonesia and participate in major infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian nation, officials said.

South Korea and Indonesia have been drawn much closer to each other in recent years, with two-way trade volume doubling to nearly US$30 billion last year from just $14.9 billion in 2007.

Indonesia is the biggest Southeast Asian buyer for South Korea's defense industry. In 2011, the country awarded two massive contracts to South Korea, one of which was to purchase submarines and the other to purchase T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer jets.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

(Yonhap News)

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