South Korean president meets ASEAN leaders

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Busan, Dec 11: South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Thursday launched a special summit with 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Busan city.

The 2014 ASEAN-South Korea commemorative summit will run for two days, the presidential office said, Xinhua reported.

South Korea

Park said in her speech that South Korea and the ASEAN have developed a mutually-beneficial cooperative relationship, stressing the need for efforts to foster their economic partnership.

The ASEAN, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam, emerged as a key trade partner of South Korea since the two sides launched dialogue in 1989.

The two sides signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in May 2006, which doubled the trade volume between them. Trade between South Korea and the ASEAN rose from about $61 billion in 2006 to over $130 billion in 2013.

The ASEAN is the number two trade partner of South Korea, following China, and the third-largest investment destination of South Korean companies.

To boost bilateral economic partnership, Park made three proposals during the CEO summit, including further cooperation in the services industry, further liberalisation through bilateral FTAs and active participation of small companies in "global value chain".

After meeting with some 570 businessmen, Park will hold back-to-back meetings with the ASEAN leaders. The special summit will be hosted by Park Friday.

IANS

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