Indonesian President Joko Widodo will meet South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in Seoul on Monday for talks aimed at boosting economic ties as they seek to hedge against risks from the escalating U.S.-China trade war.
Moon’s office sees Indonesia as a key country in his New Southern Policy — an attempt to reduce reliance on the U.S., China, Japan and Russia by expanding relations with Southeast Asian nations and India.
“The two leaders will discuss on how to cooperate to strengthen their ‘special strategic partnership’,” said presidential Blue House spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom. “They will exchange views on trade and investment, infrastructure, agriculture, health, defense, development cooperation, and culture and human exchanges.”
Analysts say that Indonesia — the biggest economy in Southeast Asia — has huge growth potential for South Korea because Widodo’s government has infrastructure projects that Seoul can assist with.
“Indonesia has huge demand for infrastructure development projects, but the country has limited resources for them,” said Shin Min-i, a researcher at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. “This offers opportunities for the South Korean government and private construction companies.”
The trade ministry said that Widodo was set to a give speech at a business forum in Seoul on Monday, and the two nations are expected to announce several business deals.
South Korea last month hosted its first automotive dialogue with Indonesia, as it seeks to sell more cars in a market dominated by Japan. Last year, Japan had a 97% share of the Indonesian auto market, while South Korea had only 0.2%, according to the South Korean trade ministry.