by BERNAMA/ pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN
PRIME Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will witness the signing of four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) — in information and communications technology, digital government, healthcare and medical science, and water and sewerage management — in Seoul next week.
Dr Mahathir and spouse Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali will undertake an official visit to Seoul from Nov 27 to 28 after attending the Asean-South Korea Commemorative Summit 2019 in Busan.
This will be his first official visit to South Korea after becoming the seventh PM of Malaysia in May 2018.
During the visit, he will lead the Malaysian delegation to a bilateral meeting with Moon. The meeting is a follow-up to both leaders’ discussion in Kuala Lumpur (KL) during Moon’s state visit to Malaysia from March 12 to 14, 2019.
Issues to be discussed include cooperation in trade and investment, development of the halal industry, cooperation in healthcare and medical science, information and communications technology, digital government, transportation, defence as well as collaboration in tourism and culture, Malaysian Ambassador to South Korea Datuk Mohd Ashri Muda told media in Busan. Both sides will also discuss efforts to further elevate the bilateral relations into a strategic partnership, as Malaysia and South Korea move towards the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 2020.
At the same time, both leaders will also discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest.
Yonhap News Agency reported that South Korea is exploring the possibility of forging individual free trade deals with more Asean member states and pushing to clinch free trade deals with Malaysia and the Philippines by the end of the year.
On top of attending official programmes, the PM is also scheduled to participate in a roundtable business meeting with South Korean captains of industry and receive a courtesy call from the president and CEO of Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co Ltd.
Dr Mahathir will also take the opportunity to meet with the Malaysian diaspora in Seoul. He will be accompanied on the visit by Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah; Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking; Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo; Minister of Health Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad; and Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam. — Bernama