South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrives in Singapore on Wednesday for three-day state visit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Singapore for a three-day visit at the invitation of President Halimah Yacob. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - South Korean President Moon Jae-in will arrive in Singapore on Wednesday (July 11) evening for a three-day state visit, the first by a South Korean president since 2003.

Mr Moon will receive an official welcome at the Istana on Thursday, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in a statement on Wednesday.

His visit is made at the invitation of President Halimah Yacob, who will host him to a state banquet on Thursday night.

Mr Moon will also meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the same day.

"President Moon and Prime Minister Lee will witness the exchange of several Memoranda of Understanding to enhance our cooperation in the areas of trade, environment and small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups," said MFA.

Trade between Singapore and South Korea was valued at $45.4 billion last year (2017), making South Korea Singapore's ninth largest trading partner and Singapore the 10th largest trading partner of South Korea.

Singapore was also South Korea's fourth largest investor last year, with investments of $2.46 billion.

Mr Moon and Mr Lee are also likely to discuss developments on the Korean Peninsula.

The security situation has become less tense this year, with missile launches by North Korea replaced by historic meetings and dialogue. These included Mr Moon's two summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27 and May 26, and Mr Kim's summit with United States President Donald Trump on June 12 in Singapore, brokered by Mr Moon .

On Friday, Mr Moon will give a lecture, titled "Republic of Korea and Asean: Partners for Achieving Peace and Co-prosperity in East Asia", as part of a series of Singapore Lectures delivered by world leaders on current affairs.

During his visit, Mr Moon will also attend a Korea-Singapore business forum and meet the Korean community here.

He will be accompanied by his wife, Madam Kim Jung-sook, as well as ministers and senior officials.

The South Korean President arrives in Singapore from a four-day visit in India. The two-nation trip is seen as part of his drive to expand ties with India and Asean under his New Southern Policy, formulated after a diplomatic row with China last year affected the Korean economy.

Angered by Seoul's deployment of a US anti-missile defence system, Beijing retaliated with economic sanctions costing South Korea an estimated US$15.6 billion (S$21.2 billion), according to the Hyundai Research Institute.

Both countries have since said they will move to repair ties.

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