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President hints at South Korean membership of Pacific trade deal

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President Park Geun Hye on Thursday indicated that South Korea could join the recently agreed Pacific free-trade deal, during a visit to Washington.

[WASHINGTON] President Park Geun Hye on Thursday indicated that South Korea could join the recently agreed Pacific free-trade deal, during a visit to Washington.

Ms Park said that South Korea - which had initially opted out of the 12-member pact - was a "natural partner" for the bloc.

"Korea welcomes the TPP agreement reached last week," Ms Park said in an address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Having already signed trade agreements with 10 of the 12 TPP member countries, I believe Korea is a natural partner for the TPP."

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South Korea had held back from joining the bloc, preferring to pursue a bilateral deal with China and others, raising some eyebrows in Washington.

Countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership are the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The deal is seen by some as a counterbalance to growing Chinese economic clout in the region.

AFP

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