South Korea's commerce minister will visit Singapore and Thailand this week to promote greater economic ties and better outline Seoul's "New Southern Policy" initiative, his office said Sunday.
Paik Un-gyu, minister of trade, industry and energy, will visit the two Southeast Asian countries Monday through Thursday.
Officials sources said that in talks with his counterpart in Singapore the policymaker will discuss smart production technologies and clean energy solutions, as well as how best to take advantage of changes under way in the fourth industrial revolution.
Singapore is a key member of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and a regional leader in smart robotics and self-driving cars. It has leading role in the steering body for the implementation of the South Korea-ASEAN free trade agreement.
In talks with Thailand's prime minister, as well as its commerce and energy ministers later in the week, the South Korean official will highlight the importance of greater cooperation in electric vehicles, biotech and other future-oriented industries.
Paik will engage local officials and explain the Moon Jae-in administration's "New Southern Policy," which aims to elevate Seoul ties with ASEAN to new levels.
The ASEAN countries have a combined population of 630 million people and straddle the Indo-Pacific region and the world's most crucial trading and energy supply routes, making these countries vital to Seoul's overall national interest. (Yonhap News)