SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has become a new "dialogue partner" of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), helping Seoul's efforts to broaden its diplomatic base, the Ministry of Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

South Korea plans to join the two-day IORA senior official meeting to open in Bali, Indonesia, on Friday.

IORA is a 22-state group aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development in the Indian Ocean region.

It decided to accept South Korea as a dialogue partner during a council of ministers session in Durban, South Africa, in November.

The other dialogue partners are the United States, China, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Egypt and Turkey.

Seoul offered a formal bid for the status in July amid the growing geopolitical importance of the Indian Ocean area.

It's expected to help expand the scope of South Korea's diplomatic activity as it pushes for the New Southern Policy by participating in regional strategic communication more actively, the ministry said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency