President Moon Jae-in talks with his Mexican counterpart President Enrique Pena Nieto on May 17 to discuss ways to develop bilateral ties and to enhance cooperation on North Korean issues. (Cheong Wa Dae)

By Jeon Han and Sohn JiAe
May 17, 2017 | Cheong Wa Dae

President Moon Jae-in held a phone conversation with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on May 17.

During the talks, the leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including ways to further enhance bilateral ties and ways to boost cooperation on North Korean issues.

“President Pena Nieto is carrying out drastic reforms based on bipartisan agreement and that has led to political stability and economic achievements,” said President Moon. “Now that I need to garner bipartisan and social compromise for the sake of fundamental reforms in the government, I, too, will follow in your footsteps,” he added.

President Moon continued to say that, “Mexico is the first Central American nation with which Korea established a strategic partnership. We both, as middle powers in terms of the economy, are engaged together in the MIKTA partnership, too. Hopefully, our two nations will continue to work closely on global issues, such as development, human rights, climate change and terrorism. We both must cooperate to jointly respond to trade protectionism that has prevailed globally. Negotiations on a free trade agreement between our countries have been halted since 2008, but should resume as soon as possible.”

In response, President Pena Nieto said, “The Mexican government, too, will work actively to get the FTA concluded soon.”

When President Moon said that, “I hope both countries will become friends, and likewise, President Pena Nieto and I will become friends,” the Mexican leader responded that, “Close friends traditionally give embrace each other. I send my wishes for an embrace over the phone.” President Pena Nieto then said that he would give a real hug to President Moon at the upcoming G20 summit to be held in Hamburg, Germany.