South Korea to Host Southeast Asian Economic Talks

Posted October 25th, 2011 at 7:40 am (UTC-5)
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South Korea is set to host diplomats from Southeast Asia's five Mekong River nations this week as part of a push to deepen economic cooperation with the resource-rich region.

The Yonhap news agency says Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan will welcome counterparts from Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand for meetings Thursday and Friday. A South Korean spokesman said the talks will focus on expanding cooperation in economic and development sectors.

Yonhap says the meeting was proposed last year by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, after a summit in Vietnam with Southeast Asian leaders.

The agency says annual trade between South Korea and the five guest nations jumped from $1.5 billion in the 1990s to $25 billion last year.

The 4,800 kilometer Mekong River, which originates in China, runs through all five guest nations. South Korea, Japan and China have long eyed the region for its abundant lumber and mineral resources.