Peres on working visit in South Korea

President, business delegation to discuss economic, strategic ties.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 8, 2010 14:26
1 minute read.
President Shimon Peres, center, inspects honor gua

Peres in Korea 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

SEOUL, South Korea — President Shimon Peres arrived in Seoul on Tuesday for a working-level summit, Peres's office and Korean sources stressing this was as originally planned and the visit had not been downgraded from an official state visit.

Peres is accompanied on his trip by Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer,  Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon and a business delegation headed by Manufacturers' Association of Israel president Shraga Brosh.

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Peres will meet South Korean President Lee Myung-bak on Thursday, according to Lee's office.

They will discuss "the political relationship between the two countries and the potential for increased economic and technological cooperation," Peres' office said. Peres will also tour several South Korean research and development centers.

Seoul appealed to the UN Security Council on Friday to punish Pyongyang, accusing its nuclear-armed neighbor of blowing apart one of its warships with a torpedo, killing 46 sailors. It was the first time Seoul has taken Pyongyang to the Security Council over an inter-Korean dispute, despite a history of being attacked by the North.

South Korean media reports have voiced worry over possibly risking its diplomatic effort against North Korea at the UN by hosting Peres and potentially being seen as favoring Israel.

Peres had been scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate at Korea University and deliver a speech there during his trip, but both events were canceled, the South Korean Foreign Ministry official said. Ministry spokesman Kim Young-sun said Israeli Embassy officials in Seoul had pushed for the two events to take place, but they later gave up on the plan. He provided no reason.


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