President Park Geun-hye will fly to St. Petersburg, Russia, today to take part in the G20 Summit, her debut in the multilateral talks.
Over the two-day meeting, Park will participate in several official events, and will deliver a keynote speech.
On the sidelines of the summit, the President is scheduled to hold one-on-one meetings with leaders from several countries known to be rich in natural resources, signaling a shift from a focus on politics.
Park visited the United States in May and China the following month to strengthen relations with the two global powers amid the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula after the North's nuclear test in February. Russia is the third country she will visit.
"Up until now, Park's overseas trips have been about politics as she tried to get full support of the U.S. and China to efficiently deal with North Korea's threats," said Prof. Son Tae-gyu at Dankook University.
"From now on, however, she is expected to care more about so-called sales diplomacy to help global operations of Korean firms in the stiff competition to secure more natural resources."
Korea depends on imports for most significant resources like crude oil, coal, iron ore and minerals. Asia's No. 4 economy has exerted great efforts to obtain stable and inexpensive supplies.
Park's stopover in Vietnam on her way back reinforces this belief as the Southeast Asian country boasts abundant natural resources and agricultural produce.
In recognition of its growth potential, Korea has channeled a total of 1.9 trillion won to Vietnam, more than 20 percent of its overall aid to foreign countries.
Park will arrive in Hanoi on Sept. 7 and have a summit with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Before returning to Seoul on Sept. 11, she will visit Ho Chi Minh City where more than 70,000 Koreans live. Around 1,800 Korean companies have operations in the city.
"Since last Friday, Park had just one official duty scheduled as she has spent most of her time preparing for the G20 Summit and the visit to Vietnam," a Cheong Wa Dae official said.
Two ruling party lawmakers are scheduled to accompany President Park on her visit to Vietnam.
Reps. Lee Byung-suk and Park Min-shik of the Saenuri Party will travel as special members of Park's entourage on the five-day visit, Park's senior presidential press secretary Lee Jung-hyun said.
Rep. Lee, also a vice National Assembly speaker, is the chairman of the Korea-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Association, and Rep. Park is one of its members, Lee said.
On the strength of their vast human network in Vietnam, they are expected to help Park flesh out her sales diplomacy.
At the G20 meeting, observers will be watching to see if Park will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a time when relations with Japan have frayed because of a series provocative actions and comments.
The possibility is likely to be low as the public continues to show resentment for Abe's denial of past wartime misdeeds.