By Park Gil-ja and Kim Minji
President Moon Jae-in on March 12 arrived in Malaysia, the second leg of his tour of three member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for a three-day visit.
He is the first Korean president to visit Malaysia in nine years and his trip comes a year ahead of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between both nations.
His first event was a Hallyu and halal exhibition at 1 Utama Shopping Center, Malaysia’s biggest mall.
Malaysia leads the global market for halal food, which is estimated at USD 2 trillion, and boasts the highest popularity of Hallyu in Asia, according to Senior Secretary for Economic Affairs Yoon Jong-won. The president's trip is thus expected to promote bilateral cooperation to advance into this market.
On March 13, President Moon will attend an official reception hosted by Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and hold a bilateral summit with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, in addition to signing memorandums of understanding.
In their upcoming summit, President Moon and Mahathir will discuss joint development of new growth engines and cutting-edge technology like information and communications technology and artificial intelligence in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. They will also talk about construction of a smart city in Malaysia.
About 250 members of an economic delegation accompanied the president to Malaysia, where they will attend a bilateral business forum on March 14.
Previously in Brunei, the first leg of his Southeast Asian tour, President Moon visited the construction site of Temburong Bridge, which is being built by Korea's Daelim Construction. The project is one of Brunei's biggest in infrastructure with an estimated value of USD 1.7 billion.
The president said the bridge is a project promoting balanced growth by connecting developed and underdeveloped areas, calling it "a good example" of Korea's inclusive and shared growth.
"I am thankful that Korean businesses have contributed to the construction of the completed RIPAS Bridge and ongoing Temburong Bridge, symbols of Brunei's national power and development," he added.