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SoftBank's Son urges Moon to focus S. Korea on developing AI

SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son explains his company's earnings for the year ended on March 31, 2019, at a press conference in Tokyo on May 9, 2019. (Kyodo)

SEOUL (Kyodo) -- SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son proposed to South Korean President Moon Jae In on Thursday that South Korea focus on developing the field of artificial intelligence as a country, the presidential office said.

At their meeting in Seoul, Son said the country should direct all available tools, such as education, policies and budgets to nurture the sector, while Moon asked the billionaire to invest in young entrepreneurs and help develop experts in artificial intelligence.

Son gladly accepted Moon's request, according to the office.

Moon also thanked Son for advising former presidents Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun while they were in office, saying Son's advice on the need for broadband internet infrastructure and an online gaming industry greatly helped the South Korean economy, the office said.

Son, who is ethnically Korean, was quoted as replying that he is happy to see many excellent internet technology companies emerge in South Korea.

Neither Moon nor Son commented on deteriorating ties between Japan and South Korea, according to the presidential office.

It is rare for the South Korean president to have a separate official meeting with a business figure at the presidential compound, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Son said last month that his company plans to accelerate investments in artificial intelligence-related startups.o

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