President Moon Jae-in (Yonhap)
President Moon Jae-in had a phone call with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday and asked the Southeast Asian country to back South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee's bid to become the director general of the World Trade Organization, Cheong Wa Dae said.
Moon pointed out that Yoo is a leading figure in the trade field with vision and capability to protect the free trade system and restore trust in it through the reform of the WTO, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.
The president was quoted as saying that it is "very important" to elect such a candidate at a time when the world economy is facing big challenges.
Moon also said Yoo is the right person to adjust the interests of advanced and developing nations and get the WTO reform task done successfully on the basis of her personnel networks and the political leadership she has shown as South Korea's trade policy chief.
The Malaysian leader agreed that Yoo has "played an important role with very impressive experience and career," Kang said.
Moon's 20-minute phone conversation with the prime minister marked the opening of his full-fledged summit diplomacy for Yoo in the final round of the WTO chief race also involving Nigeria's former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha also used virtual meetings with her counterparts from Slovenia and Finland to request the two countries' support for Yoo.
In her meeting with Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar, the two also discussed bilateral cooperation in trade and investment, according to Kang's office.
During talks with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, the two agreed that their countries have been strengthening cooperation on global health issues and actively contributing to Afghanistan's stabilization and reconstruction, Kang's office added. (Yonhap)