NATIONAL

S. Korean president heads home after state visit to Cambodia

By Yonhap
  • Published : Mar 16, 2019 - 16:54
  • Updated : Mar 16, 2019 - 16:54

PHNOM PENH -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in headed home Saturday after finishing his three-day state visit to Cambodia.

Moon's departure also concluded his trip to three Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN) nations that earlier took him to Brunei and Malaysia. The president also made state visits to the two ASEAN countries.

 
President Moon Jae-in and First Lady Kim Jung-sook get aboard the plane at Phnom Penh Airport on Saturday, ending their three-day state visit to Cambodia. (Yonhap)


During his weeklong trip that began Sunday, the South Korean leader sought ways to improve his country's bilateral ties, as well as its relations with the 10-member ASEAN.

He was the first South Korean president to make a state visit to Cambodia in 10 years. His state visit to Brunei marked the first of its kind in 19 years.

ASEAN countries, along with India, are key components of Moon's New Southern Policy that seeks to turn ASEAN into South Korea's next China.

Already, the 10 ASEAN member countries make up the world's second-largest importer of South Korean products after China.

Bilateral trade between South Korea and ASEAN reached a record high of $160 billion last year. Seoul seeks to boost the amount to over $200 billion by 2020.

Highlighting the importance of ASEAN countries to South Korea, Moon has pledged to visit each of the 10 ASEAN member states before his single five-year term ends in 2022. He has so far made bilateral visits to seven.

The South Korean president will again preach the importance of cooperation between his country and ASEAN to open what he calls an era of Asia when he hosts a special South Korea-ASEAN summit, tentatively scheduled for November, partly to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations between South Korea and ASEAN.

Moon's departure from Cambodia followed his brief trip to the country's ancient Buddhist temple complex, Angkor Wat.

His trip to Angkor Wat came at a request from the Cambodian government, his office Cheong Wa Dae said earlier.

"Because Angkor Wat is a symbol of Cambodia's glorious ancient civilization and pride of Cambodians, (the president) agreed to accept the invitation to show his appreciation and respect," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

(Yonhap)