KUALA LUMPUR: President Moon Jae-in (pic) will “mean business” when he flies in on a groundbreaking visit here next week.
The South Korean leader will show his keenness to improve economic and trade relations with Malaysia by bringing along a 150-member delegation comprising key corporate and business leaders.
The entourage is expected to include the heads of Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, LG Electronics, SK Innovation, Lotte Chemical, Posco and Doosan Heavy Industries.
The president, who flies in on Tuesday for a three-day visit, is eager to meet Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has re-ignited his “Look East” policy since coming to power again last May.
Moon, who was elected in 2017, is scheduled to hold a four-eyed session with the Prime Minister in Putrajaya on Wednesday which will be followed by a delegation meeting.
Top on the agenda will be a business forum on Thursday with Moon delivering the main address.
About 200 Malaysian company leaders will attend the forum which will include business networking and matchmaking.
With South Korean businessmen vying for projects and joint-ventures in Malaysia, Korean Chamber of Commerce (Kocham) chairman Lee Seung-gon said the president’s visit would be perfect to pave the way.
“There are world-renowned names in the delegation and we should not miss this chance,” he said.
Korean Society in Malaysia adviser Alex Hwang said he was supportive of Moon’s efforts to boost the South Korean economy.
“After focusing so much on the North Korea nuclear issue, it is important that the president is finding the time to travel here,” he added.
The year began on a sour note for South Korea when the unemployment rate rose to a multi-year high, while merchandise exports fell for the second straight month.
With the United States planning to hike its automobile import tariffs in the coming months, this would further affect Korean exports.