UPDATE : 2019.12.6 FRI 17:52
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Moon to hold summit with Mahathir, crowning this week's ASEAN diplomacy

President Moon Jae-in's intensive summit diplomacy with the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this week will culminate with bilateral talks with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in Seoul on Thursday.

Moon plans to greet Mahathir at Cheong Wa Dae for a summit and ensuing lunch, during which they are expected to focus on ways to foster partnerships in the fourth industrial revolution, boost defense industry ties and advance free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the BEXCO convention center in Busan before South Korea's special summit with ASEAN on Nov. 26, 2019. (Yonhap)

The two countries have been negotiating an FTA. In an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Busan, 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul, earlier this week, Mahathir expressed a rather prudent view.

"FTA is always good, but we have to understand the weakness and the strength of countries involved," he said, pointing out Malaysia's industrial strength is still in the infancy stage.

Moon also will likely request Malaysia's support for the Korea peace process.

They met each other in the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit held in Busan on Monday and Tuesday.

The prime minister has timed his official visit to South Korea to participate in the Busan event.

He also toured South Korean defense firms -- Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and Hyundai Rotem -- and Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje Shipyard.

Moon's one-on-one summit with Mahathir will mark the end to his dayslong summit diplomacy focused on Southeast Asian nations under his New Southern Policy. (Yonhap)

Song Na-ra  edt@koreapost.com

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