Asia Minute: India and South Korea Talking Business

Jul 10, 2018

Moon Jae-In
Credit Republic of Korea / Flickr

As you may have heard earlier on NPR, President Trump heads to Europe today for a week of diplomatic meetings. He’ll be talking with allies and will also spend time in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But another high-level diplomatic meeting is taking place this week thousands of miles from Europe.

The president of South Korea is spending most of the week in India.

It’s Moon Jae-in’s first visit to the country since he took office last year — underlining growing relations between Seoul and New Delhi — especially in the business world.

The South Korean leader says he wants to “elevate” relations with India to be in parallel with what he called the “four major powers” — which he named as the United States, China, Japan and Russia.

President Moon says it is part of his administration’s strategy to improve economic coordination with South Asian and Southeast Asian nations – the “New Southern Policy.”

India has also expressed interest in expanding economic ties with southeast Asia, as well as northeast Asia, in a strategy Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls its “Act East Policy.”

Beyond the similar geographic policy names, the business ties between the two countries got a photo opportunity on Monday: a ribbon-cutting for an expanded Samsung smart phone plant north of New Delhi.

Samsung Engineering Building in New Delhi
Credit Secl / Wikimedia Commons

There was also a bit of domestic politics in that ceremony — attended by President Moon and the Samsung vice chair and family heir Lee Jae-yong.

It’s the first time the two men had met since Lee was released in February after nearly a year in prison for his role in the bribery scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye.