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South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that the country will consider joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact.

It is the first time the South Korean leader has raised the possibility of Asia’s fourth-largest economy joining the 11-member trade pact, according to local media.

In his remarks at a trade-related event in Seoul, Moon referred to the possibility after speaking of the need to beef up the country’s trade at a time when trading volumes have fallen sharply worldwide due to the coronavirus pandemic.

China’s President Xi Jinping recently pledged to positively consider joining the free trade pact.

The TPP, formally known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Last month, 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed the world’s largest free trade deal — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

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