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Moon in Laos for summit on business partnerships

South Korean President Moon Jae-in landed in Vientiane, the capital of Laos and the last leg of his regional swing, Thursday for talks on promoting bilateral cooperation.

Moon is South Korea's first president to make a state visit to Laos, which reflects his administration's efforts to expand Seoul's ties with Southeast Asian countries under the New Southern Policy.

Moon is scheduled to have back-to-back meetings with President Bounnhang Vorachith and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.


High on the agenda are partnerships on hydroelectric power, ICT and farm villages. Laos is nicknamed the "battery of Southeast Asia" for its abundant water resources from the Mekong River. Also to be discussed are how to cooperate on regional peace, as the Lao prime minister is expected to reaffirm the country's support for the Korea peace process.

With the trip to Laos, Moon will fulfill his promise to visit all 10 members of ASEAN during his presidency.

Laos is the final stop in his weeklong trip to the region, which also took him to Thailand and Myanmar.

Leaving Myanmar earlier in the day, Moon thanked the country's leaders -- State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint -- and its people for their hospitality and said the two sides will become partners who trust each other in synergy between South Korea's experience and Myanmar's growth potential.

Moon also recalled his visit to the Martyrs' Mausoleum in Yangon on Wednesday, where he paid tribute at a stone monument established there in 2014 to honor South Korean victims of a terrorist bombing attack by North Korean agents on Oct. 9, 1983.

The failed attempt to assassinate then South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan claimed the lives of 17 South Koreans, including some Cabinet members.

"Thirty five years later, unforgettable pain is still left" there, Moon wrote on his Facebook page. He called it an "agony" left by an era of confrontation that Koreans need to overcome.

During his visit to Southeast Asia, Moon is seeking to lay the groundwork for his special summit with counterparts from ASEAN member states on Nov. 25-26 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of South Korea and ASEAN establishing their formal dialogue.

The following day, he will host a separate summit there with his counterparts from five ASEAN countries around the Mekong River -- Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. (Yonhap)