The Korea Herald


Yoon to attend ASEAN, G-20 summits in Indonesia, India

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Aug. 31, 2023 - 18:29

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Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of Korea's National Security Office, speaks at a press briefing on Thursday. (Yonhap) Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of Korea's National Security Office, speaks at a press briefing on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is set to embark on a seven-day diplomatic trip to Indonesia and India next week to participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and G-20 summits.

Kim Tae-hyo, first deputy director of Korea's National Security Office, said Thursday that Yoon will visit Jakarta, Indonesia, from Sept. 5-8 to attend the ASEAN summit. He will then travel to New Delhi on Sept. 8 and remain there until Sept. 11.

On Sept. 6, the second day of his visit, Yoon is scheduled to attend the Korea-ASEAN summit, where the leaders will evaluate current cooperation between the two regions and discuss future plans. In the afternoon, he will participate in the ASEAN+3 summit, focusing on strengthening cooperation among ASEAN, Korea, Japan and China.

Amid anticipation building over a potential trilateral meeting with Japan and China during these summits next week, the presidential office indicated such a summit might be held later this year.

A high-ranking official from the presidential office, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters that "time is running out" for the trilateral summit during the two multilateral diplomatic events. The summit is typically conducted after a high-level official meeting and a meeting of foreign ministers, which have not been held yet, he added.

"But I want to let you know that preparations are underway," he said. “It's been some time since we last held a Korea-Japan-China summit. We are therefore moving forward with plans to hold the summit later this year.”

Traditionally, China's prime minister attends the ASEAN summit, and China's president attends the G-20 summit. Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to skip the G-20 summit while Premier Li Qiang is expected to represent Beijing, according to a report from Reuters on Thursday.

The Korea-China-Japan summit has been held eight times since its inception in December 2008 under the former Lee Myung-bak administration. However, the meetings have been on hold since December 2019 due to a range of issues, including disputes over forced labor between Korea and Japan, the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened competition between the US and China.

Korea-Japan-China summits have been attended by the president of Korea and the prime ministers of China and Japan. If held this year, it would be attended by President Yoon, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Chinese Premier Li Qiang. Korea currently holds the chairmanship.

On the morning of Sept. 7, Yoon will participate in the East Asia Summit, a strategic forum attended by leaders from 18 countries. His trip to Indonesia marks an official visit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and Indonesia this year. The visit also serves as a reciprocal gesture to President Joko Widodo's official trip to Korea in July of the previous year.

On Sept. 8, Yoon is scheduled to meet with Widodo at the presidential palace in Jakarta.

Following that, the president will travel to New Delhi for the G-20 summit. He plans to attend the G-20 Summit program sessions "One Earth," "One Family" and "One Future."

Yoon will also join events including a dinner hosted by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lay a wreath and plant a tree at the Gandhi Memorial Park and conduct bilateral meetings with leaders from countries including India, which is the chair country, as well as Spain, Argentina and Mauritius.

While there is no official economic delegation for this trip, a business roundtable will take place in Indonesia with companies targeting the market in attendance. Business leaders set to attend include Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin and LS Chairman Koo Ja-eun.