SIEM REAP, Cambodia (AFP) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in sloughed off the trappings of high office yesterday and mingled with thousands of other tourists at Cambodia’s famed Angkor Wat.
The Angkor Archeological Park, a world heritage site, contains the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th centuries.
Millions visit each year, making the ruins in Siem Reap province Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination.
But it also serves as a frequent stopping off point on major state visits.
Moon lingered for two hours at the site, where he climbed on wooden staircases for better views, examined intricate ancient walls, posed for photos with officials, and paused to enjoy a coconut juice.
He is the first South Korean president to make a state visit to Cambodia in 10 years, according to Yonhap.
Im Sokrithy, from the state agency which manages Angkor, guided Moon along with an entourage and said the leader was curious about the complex’s history.
“He asked where the stones were taken from and the process of building the temples,” he told reporters.
South Korea is one of the country’s biggest investors and source of tourists, and Moon’s presence also delighted South Korean travellers, who clapped and shook his hand.
The appearance caps a three-day trip during which Moon met with Cambodian leader Hun Sen in the capital Phnom Penh on Friday.