ULAANBAATAR/SEOUL -- South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin arrived in Mongolia on Sunday for talks with his Mongolian counterpart on bilateral relations, and regional and global issues.
His trip -- the first visit to Mongolia by a South Korean foreign minister on a bilateral basis since 2014 -- comes as the country has recently gained keen attention for its rich resources amid international efforts to secure global supply chains.
Shortly after arriving in Ulaanbaatar, Park visited a commemorative park honoring South Korean independence fighter Lee Tae-joon, who opened a hospital there in the 1910s to fight infectious diseases and backed Korea's struggle against Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.
Established in 2001, the park has become a symbol of friendship between the two nations.
"It is an opportunity to inscribe deep in my heart the noble sprit of Lee who sacrificed himself for his home country's independence and served Mongolian people with medical expertise based on his philanthropic spirit," Park said.
"Inheriting that spirit, South Korea will prioritize national interests and make efforts to become a global pivotal state contributing to world freedom, peace and prosperity," he added.
Later in the day, he met with Mongolian scholars and experts to discuss a series of issues concerning Northeast Asia.
Before departing for Mongolia, Park said his trip is aimed at deepening "practical" bilateral cooperation in the areas of economic security, and strengthening solidarity between the two nations sharing "universal values."
"We would like to deepen cooperation with Mongolia, one of the world's top 10 resource-rich nations, for stabilizing and diversifying supply chains," Park told reporters.
Park added he plans to deliver President Yoon Suk-yeol's handwritten letter, wishing for the development of bilateral relations, to Mongolian President Khurelsukh Ukhnaa.
On Monday, Park is set to hold talks with his counterpart, Batmunkh Battsetseg, to discuss bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern.
During his stay that runs through Tuesday, Park also plans to pay courtesy calls on the Mongolian president and other political leaders, according to his office. (Yonhap)