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Peace, economic cooperation key goals of Moon's summit diplomacy with ASEAN, APEC

President Moon Jae-in is expected to use his upcoming trip to Singapore and Papua New Guinea to upgrade relations with Southeast Asian nations and drum up international support for his peace drive with North Korea.

Moon is set to leave for Singapore on Tuesday for a three-day visit to attend a trio of annual summits hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- a Korea-ASEAN summit, an ASEAN plus three summit also involving China and Japan and the broader East Asia Summit.

Moon plans to propose holding a special Korea-ASEAN summit next year to further solidify relations with the Southeast Asian nations under his "new southward policy." Moon also plans to host a separate summit between Korea and the Mekong River countries of Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

President Moon Jae-in (second from left) at 31st ASEAN Summits in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017 (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in (second from left) at 31st ASEAN Summits in Manila, Philippines, November 13, 2017 (Yonhap)

Presidential officials said the trip to the city-state is aimed at upgrading cooperative relations with ASEAN through expanding trade and people-to-people exchanges, strengthening regional crisis management capabilities and speeding up discussions on how to respond jointly to the fourth industrial revolution.

Moon will then visit Papua New Guinea on Saturday and Sunday for this year's summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum involving Pacific Rim nations.

During the summit, Moon plans to outline his vision for an innovative and inclusive nation and propose creating a joint fund, the APEC Digital Innovation Fund, aimed at improving the region's digital capabilities, officials said.

On the sidelines of the ASEAN and APEC summits, Moon also plans to hold a series of one-on-one meetings with other world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Officials said that discussions are underway to set up a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence on the margins of the ASEAN-related summits, and a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

Moon and Putin last met in June, and the summit with Xi will mark the first between the two in nearly a year after they last met in December last year. Moon plans to use these bilateral meetings to exchange information on North Korea's denuclearization negotiations and ask for their support to move the peace efforts forward. (Yonhap)