SEOUL, - Prime Minister Han Duck-soo is set to launch a week-long diplomatic tour across five nations in Africa and Europe, beginning next Sunday. His mission is twofold: to gather support for South Korea's endeavor to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan and to bolster bilateral relationships, as announced by his office on Friday.
According to a new release by Yonhap News Agency, Han's itinerary includes stops in Malawi, Togo, Cameroon, Norway, and Finland. The trip comes as a final effort to secure backing for South Korea's World Expo bid ahead of the selection, which will be made by a vote among member states of the Bureau International des Expositions in late November.
In Africa, Han is slated to meet with President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi and Prime Ministers Victoire Tomegah Dogbe of Togo and Joseph Ngute of Cameroon. This tour will mark the first visit by a South Korean leader-level official to these African nations since diplomatic relations were established.
The Prime Minister aims to use this trip to lay the groundwork for enhanced relations with Africa, aligning with South Korea's ambition to become a "global pivotal state." The visit is also intended to drum up interest in the inaugural South Korea-Africa summit, set to occur in South Korea next year.
During the European leg of his tour on November 2-3, Han will be in Norway and Finland. There, he aims to deepen value-based diplomacy and seek collaborative solutions to global challenges such as economic security, climate change, and supply chains.
In Norway, a meeting with Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store is planned, coinciding with the upcoming 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations next year.
Meanwhile, in Finland, Han will consult with Prime Minister Petteri Orpo. Their discussions are expected to focus on advancing bilateral relations, especially in light of a summit between the leaders of the two countries last July and the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.