(ATTN: UPDATES with meetings with leaders of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan; ADDS photo)
By Lee Haye-ah
NEW YORK/SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol held a second day of summits with world leaders in New York on Tuesday (local time) as he continued his push to win support for South Korea's bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan.
Yoon, who arrived in New York the previous day to attend the U.N. General Assembly, is using the annual gathering to meet with dozens of leaders on the sidelines as a last-minute boost to South Korea's campaign to win the Expo bid.
The host of the mega event is set to be decided at the end of November when member states of the Bureau International des Expositions, the international body in charge of overseeing the World Expo, will cast their votes in favor of one of three candidate cities -- Busan, South Korea; Rome, Italy; and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Yoon met with Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo over lunch on Tuesday, saying South Korea has been providing active assistance to help Ghana's digital transformation and considers the West African nation an important partner for peace and security, given its role as a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council this year, according to his office.
Akufo-Addo noted South Korean companies' contributions to his country's economic development, including in the auto and fisheries sectors, and called for strengthening the bilateral strategic partnership.
During a meeting with Prince Albert II of Monaco, Yoon proposed strengthening the digital partnership between the two nations, while with President Chan Santokhi of Suriname, he discussed plans to help the country's economic and social development, including in forest survey and recovery work.
Yoon also held a summit with Prime Minister Sam Matekane of Lesotho and promised to help boost the country's agricultural productivity by exploring possible cooperation projects and providing farming machinery.
In a meeting with Prime Minister John Briceno of Belize, he expressed hope for further exchanges based on a sister-city agreement signed between Busan and Belize City.
Yoon also met with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and called for strengthening cooperation in the areas of nuclear power plant construction and critical mineral supply chains, citing Kazakhstan's rich natural resources and South Korea's cutting-edge technologies.
In a separate meeting with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, he said the two countries should look for ways to capitalize on Uzbekistan's abundant resources, including semiconductor materials, and South Korea's advanced technologies, to build critical supply chains.
Yoon also met with Vice President Tiemoko Meyliet Kone of Cote d'Ivoire, demonstrating his commitment to meeting as many leaders as possible, even if not at the summit level.