South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol invited the chiefs of the country's top conglomerates -- Samsung Electronics, SK Group and LG Group -- to a private banquet Tuesday to discuss pending issues, according to industry sources on Thursday.
Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo were reportedly invited to the meeting at the presidential office in Yongsan, central Seoul, with Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair, leader of the nation's No. 3 conglomerate, absent possibly due to a business trip.
It marked the first time the president held an exclusive meeting with the nation's top four chaebol leaders at his office.
At the banquet, the president and chaebol leaders discussed the global economic crisis and ways for the government and industries to cooperate. Yoon also reportedly stressed the importance of the role of conglomerates.
They shared their experiences and thoughts on their efforts to support Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo. The host city of the upcoming Expo will be decided in a vote during the 173rd General Assembly of Bureau International des Expositions in Paris on Nov. 28.
Sources said Yoon also expressed appreciation for the leaders' accompany in his state visits and overseas trips at the dinner.
The three chiefs have accompanied Yoon on past state visits with the presidential delegation. In the latest trip last month, Lee accompanied Yoon to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, taking part in a 130-member business delegation, where Yoon reportedly forged business deals worth some 21 trillion won ($15.6 billion).
Conglomerate chiefs are also expected to join the presidential economic delegation to accompany the president on his planned state visit to Britain, upon the invitation of King Charles.
Chey, who is also the chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the largest business lobbying groups in Korea, is expected to visit Paris during that time for last-minute efforts to promote the Busan Expo bid. He is the co-chair of the World Expo 2030 Busan Bid Committee.
The presidential delegation may join Chey in Paris after their trip to Britain.