South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon will visit Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar from July 13-21, his office said Wednesday.
Lee's travel to the four countries is aimed at strengthening diplomatic ties with Central Asia and Southwest Asia and pursuing a balanced diplomacy in the Middle East under Seoul's diplomatic diversification strategy, the Prime Minister's Office said.
In particular, Lee's trip to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan will complete South Korea's summit diplomacy with five Central Asian countries, the cornerstone of the Moon Jae-in government's New Northern Policy, following Moon's visit to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in April, it explained.
The prime minister will be in Bangladesh from Saturday to Monday for talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over ways to boost cooperation in diplomacy, security, trade and investment, and human and cultural exchanges.
He will also pay a courtesy call to Bangladesh President Mohammad Abdul Hamid, attend a Korea-Bangladesh business forum and meet with volunteers of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a government agency in charge of official development assistance.
Lee will then fly to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, becoming the first South Korean prime minister to visit the two Central Asian countries.
Between Monday and next Wednesday, Lee will meet with President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and hold talks with Prime Minister Kokhir Rasulzoda to discuss closer bilateral ties for the Central Asian nation's industrial diversification and social infrastructure expansion. Lee and Rasulzoda will together attend a briefing session on KOICA's power grid project in the Romit district and discuss diversified bilateral cooperation in health, medical, forestry and education fields.
While in Kyrgyzstan from next Wednesday to July 19, Lee will hold talks with his counterpart Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev and pay a courtesy call to President Sooronbay Jeenbekov. The prime ministers will discuss expanding bilateral cooperation in the health, medical, electronic government, transportation and infrastructure fields.
On the last leg of the trip, Lee will visit Qatar, where he will meet with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Lee will visit the Umm Al Houl Combined Cycle Power Plant and the National Museum of Qatar, which are symbols of bilateral construction and infrastructure cooperation.
Lee will ask for the Qatari government's support for South Korean contractors wanting to participate in the Middle East country's construction and infrastructure projects.
Lee will return home July 22. (Yonhap)