South Korean president greets war vets on New Zealand visit

In this image made from a video, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, prepares to leave after a wreath laying ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum in Auckland, New Zealand Monday, Dec. 3, 2018. Moon is on a two-day visit to New Zealand. (TVNZ via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in greeted Korean War veterans Monday in Auckland during a two-day visit to New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the visit is a chance to reaffirm the strong relationship between the two nations, which signed a free-trade deal in 2015. Ardern is scheduled to meet with Moon on Tuesday before he leaves later that day.

Ardern said New Zealand welcomes Moon’s efforts to resolve the long-standing challenges on the Korean Peninsula.

“Our governments have much in common, not just in terms of the international outlook, but also on the domestic policy front where we will be looking to exchange views and experiences,” Ardern said in a statement.

She said the two countries work together in Antarctica, co-produce films and collaborate on innovative science and technology. Ardern said New Zealand is also home to a vibrant Korean community, and that more Koreans are visiting New Zealand every year.

Ardern said the ties between the two nations were forged during the Korean War.

Moon and his wife, Kim Jung-sook, toured the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Monday and attended a wreath-laying ceremony. Moon also met with Dame Patsy Reddy, New Zealand’s governor-general, and was to meet with opposition leader Simon Bridges.

Moon arrived in New Zealand late Sunday after attending the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. He visited New Zealand before he became president in 2006 and again in 2015. Ardern said she met with Moon last month on the sidelines of summits in Singapore and Papua New Guinea.

South Korea is New Zealand’s fifth-largest goods trading partner. Exports from New Zealand include industrial goods, forestry products, dairy, beef and lamb. Imports include oil, cars and electronic equipment.

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