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S Korean president starts Southeast Asian tour
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12:27, October 20, 2009

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South Korean President Lee Myung-bakon Tuesday left for Vietnam, the first stop of his three-nation Southeast Asian tour during which he will also visit Cambodia and Thailand.

During his stay in Vietnam, Lee is scheduled to meet with Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet for a summit on Wednesday, and later with Vietnamese prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, and secretary-general of Vietnam's Communist Party, Nong Duc Manh, according to a press release by the presidential office.

In their summit, President Lee and President Triet will look into the progress of the two countries' bilateral relations since the normalization of diplomatic ties in 1992 and discuss over measures to further strengthen cooperation in economy, trade, social and cultural sectors, the presidential office said.

President Lee will make a next stopover to Cambodia, where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen after he visits Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni.

On Friday, Lee will leave for Thailand to attend the ASEAN Plus Three (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus China, Japan and S. Korea) summit.

The leaders of Australia, India and New Zealand will also attend a wider regional forum known as the East Asia Summit at the royal beach resort of Hua Hin, the presidential office said.

"The president's trip to Southeast Asia is expected to bring about a significant improvement in South Korea's bilateral and multilateral cooperation with ASEAN countries, which are the main focus of our 'New Asia Initiative'," the presidential office added.

President Lee's trip is made under South Korea's so-called "New Asia Initiative" which was launched in March in a bid to tighten ties with the rest of Asian countries.

In June, South Korea held a special summit in the country's southern island of Jeju, attended by the heads of all 10 ASEAN economies.

Source: Xinhua

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