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President Moon, Samsung Vice Chairman Lee to Meet in India
A Sign of Rapprochement?
President Moon, Samsung Vice Chairman Lee to Meet in India
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • July 6, 2018, 10:22
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South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong are expected to meet at Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone manufacturing plant in India.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong are expected to meet at Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone manufacturing plant in India.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is making a state visit to India and Singapore from July 8 to 13. On July 9, he will attend a ceremony marking the completion of Samsung Electronics’ new smartphone manufacturing plant in India along with Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is the only one among the heads of the four largest South Korean business groups that has never met with the president since his inauguration.

Some point out that their upcoming meeting has a significant meaning in that the vice chairman was one of those involved in the 2016 South Korean political scandal. Lee’s trial is not over yet. “Some politicians and civic organizations are criticizing the vice chairman for doing business activities with the trial still ongoing and, as such, the upcoming meeting can be a political burden for the president,” an executive of a business group explained, adding, “It seems that the president is going to bear the burden in order to support enterprises, including Samsung.”

“There are a large number of South Korean companies in India and it is very meaningful that the president meets with none other than the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, who is on probation,” another one mentioned, continuing, “It seems that the president now sees the scandal as a thing of the past and stop bashing Samsung to focus more on innovative economic growth and job creation led by the corporate sector including Samsung.”

Those in the business community that were involved in the scandal are hoping for a better relationship with the president with a large economic delegation scheduled to accompany him in India. According to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the delegation has about 100 members, including KCCI Chairman Park Yong-man and Korea Employers Federation Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik. At a recent meeting, Moon told his aides to communicate more with enterprises.