Seoul: Sam­sung heir in S. Korea’s del­e­ga­tion to Py­ongyang

The Star Malaysia - - World -

SEOUL: The heir to the Sam­sung em­pire and the lead­ers of sev­eral other South Korean con­glom­er­ates will go to Py­ongyang this week for an in­ter-Korean sum­mit, Seoul an­nounced.

Sam­sung’s Lee Jae-yong and the heads of the SK and LG groups will be part of Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in’s del­e­ga­tion as he heads for a meet­ing with the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, Moon’s of­fice said yes­ter­day.

Kim Yong-hwan, vice-chair­man of Hyundai Mo­tor Group, whose founder was a refugee from the North, will be among the en­tourage.

Hyun Jeong-eun, chair­man of the sep­a­rate Hyundai Group which pi­o­neered many cross-border eco­nomic projects, will also ac­com­pany Moon.

Hyun met Kim’s fa­ther Kim Jongil sev­eral times. She was among the first South Kore­ans to meet the young leader when he as­sumed power fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s death in 2011.

Moon, a dove who favours di­a­logue with the North to nudge it to­ward de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion, has ad­vo­cated closer eco­nomic ties across the border, de­spite mul­ti­ple sanc­tions on the North over its atomic weapons and bal­lis­tic mis­sile pro­grammes.

He is set to fly to the North’s cap­i­tal to­mor­row for a three-day sum­mit with Kim – his third meet­ing this year with the young ruler of the iso­lated coun­try.

The del­e­ga­tion of about 200 in­cludes top Seoul of­fi­cials in­clud­ing its spy chief, for­eign min­is­ter and de­fence chief as well as prom­i­nent fig­ures in the econ­omy, re­li­gion, cul­ture and sports, Moon’s of­fice said.

Lee is the de facto leader of the Sam­sung group, by far the South’s big­gest con­glom­er­ate, which in­cludes Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics – the world’s largest maker of smart­phones as well as mem­ory chips.

Other del­e­gates in­clude Arch­bishop Hy­gi­nus Kim Hee-jung of the Catholic church, a fe­male ice hockey player who led the joint in­ter-Korean team which com­peted in the South’s 2018 Win­ter Olympics, and K-pop star Ailee.

“The up­com­ing sum­mit will help pave the way for more vi­brant cross-border ex­changes,” Moon’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

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