Moon begins visit to Australia to deepen ties and secure supply chain

SEOUL, 12 Dec. (Yonhap) – President Moon Jae-in left for Australia on Sunday for a four-day state visit which is expected to focus on deepening bilateral ties and securing a stable supply chain in raw materials and essential minerals.

Moon is the first South Korean president to pay a state visit to Australia in 12 years. He is also the first foreign leader the country has invited since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

On Monday in Canberra, Moon will hold a summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Strengthening cooperation in the fields of carbon neutral technologies, the hydrogen economy, defense industry, space and cyberspace should be high on the agenda.

Following the summit, Moon will attend a state luncheon hosted by Australian Governor General David Hurley.

Also on Monday, Moon will visit a monument for Australian Korean War veterans 1950-53 and pay homage to the Australian National Korean War Memorial. Australia fought alongside South Korea during the war to help defend the South against invading North Korea.

On Tuesday, Moon will travel to Sydney, where he will meet Anthony Albanese, leader of the opposition Australian Labor Party, and hold a meeting with Australian business leaders on a supply chain issue for major mining products, Park said. .

It will be the first time in 12 years that a South Korean president will pay a state visit to Australia.

South Korea and Australia are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

A senior presidential official said Moon’s visit to Australia should help South Korea secure key mining products, such as rare earths and lithium, amid the disruption of global supply chains linked to the pandemic.

“The value of strategic cooperation with Australia is important as demand for key mining products, such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare earths, is expected to increase,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Australia also hopes to increase its exports of key minerals to South Korea, the official said.

The two countries will improve their relations into a “comprehensive strategic relationship” following Moon’s visit, the official said.

Moon will return home on Wednesday.

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