October 15, 2020 13:08
President Moon Jae-in wants to visit Southeast Asia soon as his first overseas trip since the coronavirus outbreak. He is eyeing Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.
"Several ASEAN countries are on his list," a senior government official said Wednesday. "He'll go next month if possible."
But amid a second wave of coronavirus in many countries, it is unclear whether the trip can go ahead.
Seoul is trying to reduce its economic dependence on China by seeking markets in Southeast Asia amid a new Cold War between China and the U.S.
Some other leaders are also planning summit diplomacy despite coronavirus lockdowns.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga visits Indonesia and Vietnam from this coming Sunday. Suga will want to line them up against China since Japan is a member of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or "Quad" of countries that are determined to curb Beijing's growing power in the region.
Vietnam is embroiled in a territorial spat with China in the South China Sea.
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