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Yoon arrives in US for APEC, seeks Asia-Pacific supply chain resilience

Nov. 16, 2023 - 09:50 By Son Ji-hyoung
President Yoon Suk Yeol (left) and first lady Kim Keon Hee disembark on Air Force One at the San Francisco International Airport Wednesday morning local time. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol arrived in San Francisco to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' week there on Wednesday.

Yoon and first lady Kim Keon Hee disembarked on Air Force One at the San Francisco International Airport at 7:41 a.m. Accompanying the South Korean delegation were Cho Tae-yong, director of the presidential National Security Office, and Choi Sang-mok, senior presidential secretary for economic affairs.

The delegation was greeted by South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin, South Korean Ambassador to the US Cho Hyun-dong, Korea's Consul General in San Francisco Yoon Sang-soo, as well as Assistant Chief of Protocol for Diplomatic Affairs of the US Nan Kennelly.

Yoon went on to attend a lunch meeting with overseas Koreans and people of Korean descent. Later on Wednesday, Yoon also attended the APEC CEO Summit, a business forum, to deliver a keynote speech. Yoon is then scheduled to go to the reception for APEC leaders hosted by US President Joe Biden.

President Yoon Suk Yeol (front) and participants in the lunch meeting with overseas Koreans and Korean descent in San Francisco salute South Korea's national flag on Wednesday local time. (Yonhap)

During the 21-member gatherings in APEC leaders' week, Yoon is expected to highlight the need for supply chain resilience across the Asia-Pacific region, in the face of geopolitical tensions largely stemming from regional conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine, according to Kim Eun-hye, senior presidential secretary for press affairs, in a statement Thursday.

"Yoon will highlight the need to enhance the regional supply chain and establish supply chain resilience as its disruption poses a threat to the Asia-Pacific countries," Kim noted.

Yoon will also call on APEC countries to promote people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between young scientists, and will ask entrepreneurs from APEC countries to blaze new trails with innovation and creativity.

"In the face of the complex crises the world's economy is facing ... Yoon will lay out concrete measures for APEC members to preemptively address the crises, so the world's economy regains vitality and achieves sustainable growth," Kim said.

She added that supply chain diversification and increased trade and investment are crucial to ordinary South Korean citizens' livelihood.

President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers a speech during the APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday local time. (Yonhap)

APEC was established as an annual economic forum in 1993 with 17 member countries. Three decades on, APEC's member countries account for 62 percent of the global gross domestic product, as of 2021.

While in San Francisco, Yoon is expected to hold closed-door bilateral talks with heads of state, though who he will meet has not been officially disclosed.

According to Kyodo News, Yoon is set to hold a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in San Francisco on Thursday. They last met on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in India. Yoon and Kishida are also scheduled to hold a joint conference on cutting-edge technology at Stanford University on Friday, Yoon's office earlier confirmed.