Peres next month to be first president to visit South Korea
Only in recent years have bilateral visits included high-level officials.
By GREER FAY CASHMAN
President Shimon Peres, the much-traveled initiator of history-making events, will make some more history next month when he becomes the first Israeli president to visit South Korea and Vietnam. The trip is slated to begin June 8.Israel has had diplomatic relations with South Korea since 1962, and opened an embassy in Seoul in 1968, which it subsequently closed in 1972. The embassy was reopened in January 1992, and South Korea opened an embassy in Tel Aviv in December 1993.It is only in recent years that bilateral visits have included high-level officials.It was also in December 1993 that Israel opened an embassy in Hanoi, after having established diplomatic relations with Vietnam in July of that year.Until last year, Vietnamese ambassadors to Israel were non-resident. The present ambassador, Dinh Xuan Luu, who presented his credentials last July, is his country’s first resident ambassador here.Peres will head a large delegation that will include Industry and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon, Israel Manufacturers Association chief Shraga Brosh, Israel Export Institute CEO Avi Hefetz, presidential aides and some 60 business leaders.The business delegation includes CEOs from companies such as ElbitSystems, ECI Telecom, Israel Aircraft Industries, Elta, RAD DataCommunication, and Naan, among others.The visits are designed to enhance bilateral relations with both SouthKorea and Vietnam in the political, defense and economic realms, and topave the way for Israel to gain a stronger foothold in Southeast Asia.In South Korea, Peres will be the guest of President Lee Myung-Bak andwill meet with senior government ministers. In the course of his visit,Peres will tour major industrial sites, will learn about Korea’scurrent scientific research, primarily from Samsung, and will lectureon innovation at Korea University.Peres is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam on June 11 and will meet withPresident Nguyen Minh Triet, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and membersof the government. Discussions are expected to center on joint venturesand the upgrading of political and defense relations. Peres will alsotour Ho Chi Minh City.
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