Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni left for an official visit to Southeast Asia Sunday night, where she will meet Japan’s new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Myeong-Sook. During the visit, Livni will sign a declaration upgrading the diplomatic relations between Israel and Japan.
This is the first ever visit of an Israeli foreign minister to Korea. The visit is considered an important visit, mainly due to the nomination of the new secretary general of the UN, the Korean Ban Ki-moon.
During her meetings, Livni will discuss the political process with the Palestinians, the Iranian threat, and the situation in Lebanon. Livni is expected to praise and thank her hosts for sticking to the three principles set by the Quartet regarding Hamas.
Livni will dedicate a major part of the visit to promoting economic cooperation and increasing the business exposure between Israel and the two countries. During 2006 alone, no less than 300 Israeli companies did business with companies in South Korea. A major item on the agenda will be the planned opening of development centers in Israel for Korean technology giants such as LG and Samsung.
In Tokyo, Livni will discuss cooperation with Japan in the area of space development and establishing a direct commercial flight route between Tel Aviv and Tokyo.
Livni’s visit to Japan is also marked in Tokyo by the elimination of a travel advisory issued by Tokyo warning Japanese tourists not to visit Jerusalem and the Dead Sea area. The decision was made last month in anticipation of the foreign minister’s visit to Japan and the process of strengthening ties between Israel and Japan.