Korea sign $1.9bn deals to boost economic ties

Korea sign $1.9bn deals to boost economic ties”

"South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and Indonesian President Joko Widodo hold a joint press conference at Bogor Palace, located on the outskirts of Jakarta, on November 9, 2017".

Moon arrived here Wednesday on a three-day trip that also marked his first state visit to a foreign nation since taking office in May.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo welcomed his South Korean counterpart at a palace in a botanical garden near the country's capital, Thursday afternoon.

The presidents of South Korea and Indonesia agreed Thursday to upgrade their relations to "special strategic partnership" to push forward all-encompassing cooperation in economy, culture, politics and security issues.

Efforts to boost exchange between their people will include simplifying Seoul's visa issuance procedure for Indonesian tourists to South Korea. On Friday, President Moon will fly over to Da Nang, Vietnam to attend the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum where Seoul's chief diplomat is set to introduce his country's key economic policy initiative of "People-oriented, sustainable growth".

Boasting a 260 million strong population and an economic output that represents nearly 40-percent of the entire ASEAN region, Indonesia has long shared economic interest with South Korea. Despite the unexpected rain and gray skies, the presidents of South Korea and Indonesia shared ample amount of bonding from an extensive one-on-one on the balcony, tree-planting and even a surprise trip to a nearby mall in a buggy driven by Mr. Widodo himself.

The Southeast Asian nation has traditionally had good relations with North Korea and is one of a few countries that maintains diplomatic ties with an embassy in Pyongyang.

Pyongyang staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test so far on September 3.

"The two leaders expressed grave concern over North Korea's sixth nuclear test and multiple launches of ballistic missiles which constitute a serious challenge to worldwide peace and security", the statement said, referring to the communist state's latest and most powerful nuclear test staged on September 3.

The forum is also attended by 16 chairmen of South Korean firms.

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