UPDATE : 2018.11.18 SUN 14:50
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S. Korean president set for talks with Vietnamese leaders

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is set to hold a bilateral summit with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang in Hanoi on Friday, followed by talks with other top leaders that will likely focus on ways to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries.

The Moon-Quang summit will be the second of its kind since Moon took office in May 2017. They first met on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Danang, Vietnam in November.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh of Vietnam pose for a picture at a groundbreaking ceremony for the Vietnam-Korea Institute of Science and Technology (V-KIST) in Hanoi on March 22, 2018. The V-KIST is a US$70 million research facility equally funded by South Korea and Vietnam as part of Seoul's official development aid program. (Yonhap)

"My thoughts about Vietnam are very special and I believe those of our people will not be so different. South Korea and Vietnam have now become partners -- they cannot do without each other," Moon said while meeting with South Korean residents and business people shortly after his arrival here Thursday.

The South Korean president is on a three-day state visit that will end Saturday. It is his first state visit to a foreign state this year, and his second to a member country of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Moon has repeatedly stressed the importance of cooperation and exchange between his country and Vietnam, whose bilateral trade reached a record high of US$63.9 billion in 2017.

Seoul seeks to increase the trade volume to more than $100 billion by 2020, making Vietnam the country's second-largest trading partner, outstripped only by China.

Currently, Vietnam is South Korea's fourth-largest trading partner and South Korea Vietnam's second-largest, according to Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Following his summit with President Quang, the South Korean leader will hold separate talks with three other national leaders of Vietnam -- Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party; National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan; and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

He will wrap up his visit here Saturday and head to the United Arab Emirates, the last destination in his two-nation trip. (Yonhap)

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koreapost.com

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