UPDATE : 2019.7.20 SAT 07:21
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S. Korean leader set for summit with Bruneian monarch

South Korean President Moon Jae-in was set to hold a summit with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah on Monday to discuss ways to improve his country's relationship with Brunei, as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Moon arrived here Sunday on a three-day state visit, becoming the first South Korean leader to make a state visit here in 19 years.

The Bruneian king was set to welcome the South Korean president in a welcome ceremony to be held at his official residence, Istana Nurul Iman, followed by a friendly visit to be attended by the leaders' wives, according to Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-sook, disembark Korean Air Force One after arriving in Brunei on March 10, 2019 for a three-day state visit.

Moon and Bolkiah will later hold a bilateral summit on ways to boost the countries' bilateral cooperation.

South Korea has been importing over 1 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually from Brunei since 1997, while its construction companies have taken part in various projects here, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

During his stay here, the South Korean president is scheduled to visit the construction site of Temburong Bridge, a 30-kilometer bridge being built by a South Korean firm, a Cheong Wa Dae official said earlier.

The visit is expected to highlight cooperation between the two countries and also the possibility of future projects.

Brunei is currently pursuing a long-term development plan called Brunei Vision 2035 that also seeks to transform the country's resources-dependent economic structure into an advanced industrial economy.

President Moon's visit "aims to expand the countries' cooperation to all industrial sectors from energy and LNG imports and also expand opportunities for our companies to take part in infrastructure projects here," the Cheong Wa Dae official has said.

The leaders of South Korea and Brunei will also discuss ways to improve South Korea-ASEAN ties as Brunei is acting as a dialogue coordinator for a special summit to be held in South Korea involving the heads of state of all 10 ASEAN member states, including Brunei.

Brunei and the other ASEAN members are the focus of Moon's New Southern Policy, under which South Korea seeks to greatly strengthen its diplomatic and economic cooperation with its neighbors in this region.

In 2018, bilateral trade between South Korea and ASEAN countries reached a record high of over US$160 billion. Seoul is pushing to increase the amount to more than $200 billion by 2020.

Moon will wrap up his three-day visit here Tuesday, when he will head to Malaysia for a three-day state visit.

The South Korea president is on a three-nation tour that will also take him to Cambodia.

Both Malaysia and Cambodia are members of ASEAN.(Yonhap)

Kim Su-a  edt@koreapost.com

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