Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Brussels, 22 May 2023

Dear President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the Korean war, many European countries sent their soldiers to fight alongside South-Korean soldiers, including my own country. As a Belgian and European, I am strongly attached to the cause. Henri Moreau de Melen even resigned as Belgian minister of defence to come and fight in Korea. A total of 3,000 Belgian soldiers served during the Korean war and they played a role at the battle of Imjin river, which I crossed this morning on my way to the demilitarized zone.

Mr President, it was a pleasure to meet you for our 10th EU-Republic of Korea Summit. This year is the sixtieth anniversary of the bilateral relationships between the Republic of Korea and the EU. Korea is one of the EU’s most valued partners in the region. We share common interests and common goals. We are united by the values of democracy, human rights, rule of law, and international law. And today we took another step to strengthen our strategic partnership, by focusing on important regional and global challenges and on our bilateral relations.

Today we face threats to our global and regional security and rising global competition. This summit takes place as Russia continues its large-scale attacks on the people of Ukraine. These threats — and this war — show that deeper cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Korea is not a luxury, it is a vital necessity. I would like to thank you, dear President, and Korea, for condemning this illegal war against Ukraine, and for your support for the people of Ukraine as they bravely defend their homeland.

Oceans may divide us, but European and Indo-Pacific security are closely connected. So we must stand united and firm, to protect the UN Charter and the international rules-based order. In this region, the DPRK’s nuclear program and reckless missile tests are a serious threat to international and regional security. The EU does not and will never accept nuclear armament by the back door. In the EU, we will continue to support your efforts to build peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

These challenges also highlight the importance of strong alliances to face today’s new challenges. Boosting cooperation with your closest neighbours reinforces stability in the region and helps to achieve our shared goals. We also stressed the importance of preserving stability and the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. We are working together to build a dynamic and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, to make progress in areas like climate, health, security and defence. And we are working together to build new security partnerships: just one example would be the Korean navy participating in the EU’s Operation Atalanta, the EU’s counter-piracy military operation off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean.

We are also forging closer ties in our bilateral relationship, underpinned by robust agreements, like our Free Trade Agreement. Today we have concrete deliverables, in green, health and digital topics.

We are joining forces to modernise our economies by making them greener. This is good for our planet and good for our societies. Our new Green Partnership will boost cooperation in areas like renewables and green technology. Importantly, through this partnership, we will strengthen our cooperation on the safe operation of nuclear power, among other issues. We are also teaming up to improve global health — this includes making sure the world is ready for possible future health crises, notably through a new WHO Pandemic Agreement.

Digital is and will be more and more the lifeblood of our future societies. That’s why we launched our Digital Partnership last year, to cooperate more in critical technologies, like semiconductors, quantum computing, and Artificial Intelligence, and to foster greater cooperation between trusted and technologically advanced partners. Korea is a global leader in semiconductor production and now we are committed to deepening our cooperation on digital trade rules.

The EU and your country have a powerful trade relationship: the EU is the first investor in Korea and the third trading partner for Korea. It is proof that our Free Trade Agreement is a success story, for both our citizens and our businesses. Trade in goods has grown by 70% since 2011. And we want to maximise its untapped potential.

Finally, a word on economic security. We have just returned from the G7 meeting in Hiroshima, where we discussed the interdependency of global supply chains. With President Yoon, we also focused on strengthening the resilience of our supply chains, especially in strategic industries, and for critical technology and raw materials.

Dear President, thank you again for your warm welcome. You can count on the EU to promote peace and security and to protect our shared values and the international law. I look forward to seeing you in Europe soon.

Thank you.

Visit the meeting page

Source – EU Council

Joint statement European Union – Republic of Korea summit 2023


Brussels, 22 May 2023

President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the Republic of Korea Yoon Suk Yeol, met in Seoul on 22 May for the 10th Summit between the European Union and the Republic of Korea and issued the following statement:

1. We, the Leaders of the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the year marking 60 years of our diplomatic relations, welcome the progress made to advance our strategic partnership, based upon the EU-ROK Framework Agreement, Free Trade Agreement, and Framework Participation Agreement in EU crisis management operations.

We reaffirm that our partnership is grounded in common interests and the shared values of democracy, human rights, the rule of law, effective multilateralism, open, free and fair trade, and the rules-based international order.

2. As the world faces threats to global peace and security, notably Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and missile programmes, as well as multi-dimensional challenges, such as the uneven pandemic recovery, climate change, food and energy security and others, we resolve to continue and expand cooperation in a future-oriented and mutually beneficial way, including in the framework of our respective Indo-Pacific strategies and the EU’s Global Gateway.

3. We agree that new partnerships launched between the EU and the ROK will strengthen the bilateral Framework Agreement signed in 2010. We agree to develop a security partnership and establish a Strategic Dialogue at Foreign Ministerial level to enhance our cooperation on global peace and security. In addition, we launch an EU-ROK Green Partnership, commence formal negotiations for the ROK to associate with the Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, and will work towards the launch of negotiations on binding commitments on digital trade as we expand cooperation under the EU-ROK Digital Partnership and welcome the launch of an Administrative Arrangement on Health Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Strengthening cooperation for Peace and Stability

4. We reiterate our resolute condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a grave violation of international law.

We reaffirm our strong commitment to the UN Charter and recall our unwavering support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and its inherent right of self-defense against the Russian aggression in accordance with the UN Charter. Russia must stop its aggression and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

International humanitarian law, including on the treatment of prisoners of war, and international human rights law must be upheld.

5. We express support to ensure accountability for war crimes and other violations of international law committed in Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and reiterate our support for the work of the International Criminal Court. We agree to maintain and increase the collective pressure on Russia, particularly through effective implementation of the respective restrictive measures. We are committed to support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction and remain resolved to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. We discussed ways of increasing our support for Ukraine to meet financial, material, security and humanitarian needs.

6. We strongly condemn the DPRK’s repeated illegal ballistic missile launches as well as its ongoing nuclear development and references to the possible use of nuclear weapons. The DPRK’s reckless actions pose a serious threat to international and regional peace and security. The DPRK must immediately comply with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions by abandoning all its nuclear weapons, any other weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missile programmes and existing nuclear programmes, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and cease all related activities.

7. We reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We call on all UN Members, especially Members of the UN Security Council, to respond in a united and firm manner to the DPRK’s illegal weapons programmes by fully implementing all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and urging the DPRK to resume meaningful dialogue. Emphasizing that the path to dialogue remains open, we call on the DPRK to immediately cease all actions that raise military tensions and return to denuclearization talks. To this end, President Michel and President von der Leyen expressed support for the objectives of the RoK’s Audacious Initiative for a denuclearized, peaceful and prosperous Korean Peninsula. The EU supports the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula that is free and at peace.

8. We express grave concern over violations and abuses of human rights in the DPRK. The DPRK’s use of resources to support its illegal weapons programmes exacerbates the humanitarian situation of its population. We reaffirm that human rights are an essential element in building sustainable peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. We agree to strengthen bilateral policy consultations as well as cooperation in UN human rights bodies aimed at raising awareness of the situation and convincing the DPRK to respect and fulfil human rights.

9. We reaffirm our willingness to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in line with international humanitarian law, and in accordance with humanitarian principles.

10. We recognize the importance of cooperation between the ROK and Japan in promoting our shared objectives and welcome the respective government’s efforts to improve bilateral relations.

11. We reaffirm our support for freedom of overflight and of navigation, including in the South China Sea, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). We stress the importance of preserving peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the Indo-Pacific.

12. We reaffirm the importance of a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and based on the rule of law and fundamental freedoms.

13. Recognizing the synergy between our respective Indo-Pacific strategies, we will cooperate in pursuing our common objectives in the region, including in the areas of security as well as addressing health, climate, environment and sustainable finance related issues in the region. We welcome the outcomes of the second EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum, held in Stockholm on 13 May.

14. We, as strategic partners of ASEAN, recognize our shared objective to enhance cooperation with ASEAN as an important stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific. We fully support ASEAN’s unity and centrality, in line with the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), we will seek to work closely with ASEAN Member States in promoting sustainable economic and social development in the region, including in the areas of marine environment, renewable energy, climate change, health, digital and cyber security.

15. We will work together to strengthen partnerships with the Pacific Island countries. Welcoming the launch of the 2023 Korea-Pacific Islands Summit, and reaffirming our endorsement of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, we will engage in joint efforts to mitigate the effects of climate crisis and marine environment degradation in the region. We will actively support SIDS-related processes in addressing climate challenges, within relevant multilateral bodies and through our partnerships.

16. We reaffirm our strong support for multilateralism, as well as our shared values in freedom, the rule of law, open societies, democracy, human rights and good governance. We agree to continue our close cooperation in international organizations and multilateral fora including the UN and G20 to find solutions to global challenges including climate change, global health crises, and challenges to human rights and democracy.

17. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we reaffirm our strong commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. We express our commitment to strengthening multilateralism and the rules-based international order. We acknowledge that the EU and the ROK are playing an active role in the Human Rights Council. We agree to strengthen cooperation on human rights, both within relevant United Nations human rights bodies as well as through the EU-ROK human rights consultations.

18. We will promote the effective implementation and universalization of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Arms Trade Treaty (ATT); the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC); the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC); the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). We look forward to working constructively on nuclear safety, security and safeguards issues in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

19. We value the close collaboration in the field of maritime security, including the ROK’s participation in the EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta. We will expand joint endeavors to protect sea lanes, counter piracy, and secure safety of navigation. Sharing the views that the ROK’s interaction with the EU’s Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) will contribute to the peace and stability of the maritime environment in the region, we agree to explore and pursue diverse opportunities of cooperation.

20. We agree to promote concerted efforts in countering terrorism, by exchanging information and expertise in preventing violent extremism, including combatting the dissemination of terrorist content online, including inter alia through the Christchurch Call, addressing misuse of new and emerging technologies and countering terrorist financing.

21. We will enhance cooperation in responding to cyber threats including cybercrime and ransomware, and cyberattacks from state actors and non-state actors. We intend to resume our EU-ROK Cyber Policy Consultation soon. We will cooperate to establish the UN Programme of Action to advance responsible state behavior, as a permanent, inclusive, action-oriented mechanism to facilitate cooperation and confidence-building in cyberspace and to closely coordinate efforts in multilateral fora including the UN, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

22. We recognize that foreign information manipulation and interference, including the deliberate spread of false or misleading information, constitutes a grave threat to democratic systems and values, including freedom of expression and free media. We will work bilaterally and with like-minded partners to promote the effective prevention, detection, deterrence and response to foreign information manipulation and interference, in collaboration with public and private sectors including researchers, civil society organizations, academia, media and private industry.

23. We reaffirm our commitment to work together in tackling new challenges, including those posed by the misuse of emerging and disruptive technologies (EDT), climate change and pandemics. We will cooperate in establishing relevant international rules on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the military domain and welcome the launch of the Responsible AI in the Military Domain Summit (REAIM), including the ROK’s decision to host the 2nd Summit.

Partnership for the Greater Prosperity

24. We note with satisfaction the robust and thriving economic relationship between the EU and the ROK, based on the EU-ROK Free Trade Agreement. We recognize the importance of the full implementation of the FTA to ensure balanced benefits to both sides. To this end, we agree to encourage our FTA committees and working groups to strengthen the implementation of the FTA.

In this respect, we welcome the September 2022 Agreement on the recognition of EU regionalisation. We will work to fully and effectively implement it and to effectively improve market access for agri-food products to each other’s markets, such as fruits and meat products, including the export of EU beef to Korea and of Korean poultry products (fresh, heat-treated and composite) to the EU.

We agreed on the importance of maintaining momentum on responsible business conduct and labour issues, including through continued and sustained efforts towards ratifying the fundamental International Labour Organization Conventions.

25. Recalling the positive outcomes of the Twelfth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial conference (MC12), we support strengthening and reforming the World Trade Organization as a central pillar of the global economic system. We will work together alongside partners, including developing countries, to ensure a successful 13th WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi by achieving concrete outcomes. This includes working towards necessary reform of all three functions of the WTO, including having a fully and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all Members by 2024 and by reinforcing deliberations to respond to global trade policy challenges, including on key level-playing field issues affecting global trade. We will also work together to ensure the prompt entry into force of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and the conclusion of negotiation on comprehensive disciplines on fisheries subsidies, advancement of plurilateral initiatives including the joint statement initiatives, especially on Investment Facilitation for Development and E-commerce, progress on agricultural reform, and making permanent the Moratorium on Customs Duties on Electronic Transmission.

26. Reaffirming our shared interests as trading partners and given the mutual interdependency in global supply chains, we agree to strengthen our dialogue on economic security, including supply chain resilience and exchange views on export controls and economic coercion.

27. We commit to continue close consultation on recent legislations covering access to supply of critical raw materials and the development of batteries, as well as to intensify our coordination on carbon border measures.

28. Furthermore, we agree to strengthen cooperation on early warning systems to detect and address potential supply chain disruptions in key industries and items through strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation. To this end, we agree to explore mutually beneficial cooperation through appropriate fora.

29. Faced with the increased volatility of the global energy market, aggravated by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, we recognize the need to accelerate the efforts to advance the energy transition as the way to achieving climate goals and ensuring energy security. We agree to strengthen collaborative efforts on safe and sustainable low-carbon technologies. Moreover, we seek to further cooperate to achieve decarbonization and agree to strengthen collaborative efforts in the realm of responsible use of civil nuclear energy with those EU Member States having chosen to use nuclear energy in accordance with the highest standards of nuclear non-proliferation including the IAEA Additional Protocol.

30. We welcome the launch of the EU-ROK Digital Partnership on 28 November 2022. The Partnership will allow us to foster collaboration on semi-conductors, next generation mobile networks, quantum and High Performance Computing (HPC), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and online and digital platforms regulations. The next annual Ministerial-level Digital Partnership Council will be a useful framework for monitoring progress in the concerted efforts and exploring ways to further deepen the collaboration, including in the framework of relevant international organizations.

31. We welcome the signing of the EU-ROK Digital Trade Principles on 30 November 2022, which reflect a common understanding on key issues relevant to digital trade and a joint commitment to fostering an open digital economy and removing and preventing the emergence of unjustified barriers to digital trade. On this basis, we agree to work towards the launch of negotiations on binding commitments on digital trade, taking into account inter-alia exceptions for legitimate public policy objectives, based on appropriate mandates.

32. We agree on the importance of continued cooperation on personal data protection, building on the high degree of convergence between our respective data protection regimes, as recognized by the EU’s adequacy decision for the ROK, and the joint declaration on privacy and the protection of data signed at the first EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum held in Paris in 2022. This includes exploring the development of a comprehensive area of cross-border data flows with trust through enhancing security and privacy between our economies, relying on a high level of data protection and working with international partners to shape global privacy standards.

33. We agree to strengthen cooperation in the field of supply chain and industrial policies to support industrial competitiveness and technology, entrepreneurship, and activities of small and medium enterprises (SME). To this end, we look forward to the further development of mutual dialogue and cooperation through existing channels. We agree to expand the existing IPD (Industrial Policy Dialogue) to SCIPD (Supply Chain and Industrial Policy Dialogue) with a view to discussing relevant issues in a concrete and comprehensive manner and intend to hold the 1st SCIPD within 2023.

We share the objective to strengthen the global competitiveness of semiconductor industries in the EU and Korea. To this end, we will explore developing a common mechanism for the security and resilience of semiconductor’s supply chain and we commit to conducting collaborative research and development in the field of leading-edge semiconductors including power semiconductors, automotive semiconductors, and advanced devices. In addition, we continue close consultations on our respective industry policies including the enactment and implementation of the European Chips Act, and explore ways to collaborate on potential disruptions to semiconductor supply chains.

34. We welcome the opening of negotiations on the ROK’s association to Horizon Europe, and commit to build stronger interaction in science and innovation, by boosting collaboration and investment in research and development, as well as mobility of researchers in efforts to address global challenges.

35. Affirming the importance of space for mutual prosperity and security, we agree to promote close communication between the relevant institutions and bodies. We will participate in global efforts to set international norms regulating space behaviors, and define principles for safe, secure and sustainable use and exploration of space.

36. We share the objective to accelerate progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals, and recognize the need to generate more resources to tackle global challenges including the pandemic, climate change, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the food and energy crisis. We express satisfaction with our advanced cooperation as reflected in the outcomes of the 8th Policy Dialogue on Development on 27 February 2023. In the context of our respective initiatives, such as the EU and the Republic of Korea’s Indo-Pacific strategies and the EU’s Global Gateway, we will work together and with partner countries to implement coherent and complementary projects in the green, renewable energy, digital and transport sectors, notably in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and other regions of strategic interest, and foster the participation of the private sector, including SMEs.

37. We will also seek to accelerate the reform of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and the implementation of the recommendation of the G20 Independent Review of MDBs’ Capital Adequacy Frameworks to enhance their capacity to finance development as well as the provision of global public goods, and support more effective implementation of the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment. We welcome the convening of the Summit for a New Global Financing Pact in Paris in June to give an impulse to these and other innovative financing tools.

Working Together for sustainable development

38. Recognizing the existential threat posed by the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and the urgent need to accelerate the transition to a net zero, nature-positive, circular and resource efficient economy, we note the need for the international community to act in an ambitious and concerted manner. We agree to reinforce collaborative actions in tackling the challenges related to the green transition by launching the EU-ROK Green Partnership.

39. We reaffirm our commitments to our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), including the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets and 2050 net zero emissions goal. We will join forces in strengthening the implementation of the Paris Agreement and keeping the 1.5 C temperature limit within reach by strengthening actions in mitigation and implementation in this critical decade, including the phase down of unabated coal power plants in line with our respective targets and international commitments. We will continue to provide targeted support to the most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for support towards a just transition.

40. We will work together to implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework with effective monitoring and review mechanisms, as well as ambitious resource mobilisation, targets, and access and benefit sharing. Moreover, we agree to continue joint efforts to promote ambitious actions across the different negotiating tracks with the view to achieve substantial outcomes at the UNFCCC COP28 in Dubai, as well as to deliver an ambitious Global Agreement on Plastic Pollution following the mandate adopted at UNEA5.2. At the nexus between climate and biodiversity, we intend to cooperate to fight against deforestation and forest degradation via the promotion of sustainable forest management and sustainable agricultural supply chains. We further agree to closely cooperate in other relevant fora such as the G20, WTO, Global Alliance for Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) and Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G).

41. We welcome the launch of the EU-ROK Administrative Arrangement on Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Area of Medical Countermeasures and look forward to advanced cooperation for the effective management of cross-border health problems. Within the framework of this arrangement, we agree to assist each other in the identification of health threats, collaborate on research, innovation, manufacturing and production of medical countermeasures, as well as jointly assist other countries, with building up their capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. For better protection of public health, we will strengthen regulatory cooperation through the Working Arrangement for the exchange of non-public information on medical products.

42. Reaffirming commitments made under the Global Health Security Agenda, including the New Seoul Declaration, we will work together to enhance global coordination against future health crises, strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response and to reform the health-related governance, notably by means of a new WHO pandemic agreement and revision of the International Health Regulations. We reaffirm our commitment to adopt the pandemic agreement at the World Health Assembly in 2024. We welcome the establishment of the Pandemic Fund and the launch of its first call for proposals. We call for the enhancement of support to ensure the Fund’s continued operational success, underlining the importance of the expansion of its donor base.

43. Welcoming the launch of the EU-ROK Transport Dialogue in September 2022, we will enhance bilateral cooperation across all modes of transport and in the relevant international fora to achieve sustainable, efficient, competitive, safe and secure transport systems and enable greater business cooperation, trade, tourism, and people-to-people exchange. In particular, we will facilitate closer cooperation in the aviation sector, to boost its recovery from the COVID19 and enhance connectivity between the two regions, including by exploring the potential benefits of negotiating an EU-ROK comprehensive Air Transport Agreement.

44. Recognizing the importance of people-to-people exchanges in deepening mutual understanding and bonds of friendship, we will closely collaborate in the fields of education and culture. We agree to support links and joint initiatives between universities and research institutions through participation, inter alia, in the Erasmus+ programme.

45. Furthermore, we welcome the vibrant cultural events celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the EU and the ROK. These echo the close cultural ties between the EU and its Member States and the ROK.

Source – EU Commission

Press statement by President von der Leyen at the joint press conference with President Michel and President Yoon following the EU-Republic of Korea Summit


Brussels, 22 May 2023

Dear President Yoon,

Thank you for hosting us here in Korea today. The Republic of Korea is most definitely one of our oldest and closest partners, one we trust and we count on. This year marks, indeed, an important milestone for us – the 60th anniversary of our bilateral relations. It is quite amazing to think back to 1963. The predecessor of the European Union, the so-called European Economic Community, had just been established barely six years earlier. Korea had emerged barely ten years earlier from war. Nevertheless, the partnership has developed and blossomed to become one of the deepest and richest we have, elevated to the rank of Strategic Partnership in 2010. And it is completed with one of the most significant Free Trade Agreements ever signed by the European Union only one year later. One that has delivered fantastically for both sides.

I mention this because the investment we have both made in this relationship has never been more important and valuable than today, in a world profoundly shaken by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, Russia’s blatant violation of the UN Charter and the international law. You condemned this war of aggression from the start. You are coordinating tough sanctions against the Russian economy of war with us and other international partners. And you are channelling much-needed financial and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and its people. It is all to your credit. And it shows, once again, the strength of our bond. Two democracies sharing the same values and a friendship that defies the geographic distance. This is best shown by our people who have a long-standing and rich tradition of exchanges, especially through business, education and culture. Trade figures testify to the dense nature of our relations with an increase by more than 110% thanks to our Free Trade Agreement. A real success that we continue to develop.

Today, we came together to reflect on the future of our partnership. How to capitalise even more on that special bond we share? Part of the answer lies in the discussions we have had at the G7 Summit. Democracies like ours must get better at navigating geopolitical and economic shocks, together. We need to ensure our economic security while remaining open and promoting a healthy competition among ourselves. So today, we launched a number of joint initiatives to do just that.

First, we launched our Green Partnership. We will work on the convergence of our regulations on carbon pricing, on deforestation, on plastic products, and explore joint projects in the fields of renewables, energy efficiency and the hydrogen economy. Second, we are launching negotiations for Korea’s accession to Horizon Europe, the EU’s research programme – and the largest in the world. We will get our brilliant minds to work together on the technologies of tomorrow. Third, we are signing an arrangement on health emergency preparedness and response. This is also about sharing crucial information about the situation of supply chains. And fourth, we are pushing ahead with the Digital Partnership we agreed last autumn, by getting our teams to work on AI, for example, High Performance Computing and, in particular, semiconductors. I want to highlight here that the EU Chips Act can be a major boon for Korean investments in semiconductor manufacturing. And finally, we should be able to start negotiations on a digital trade rules agreement still this year. So, that is for our partnership in strategic economic sectors. We have also agreed to step up our cooperation on security and defence. We will launch a Strategic Dialogue extending to crisis management, maritime security, cybersecurity or counterterrorism, to name a few.

And finally, I want to talk about the broader Indo-Pacific region. I want to reiterate in particular the EU’s full solidarity with you in the face of the constant nuclear threat from the DPRK. The European Union will never accept the DPRK’s possession of nuclear weapons as a normal state of affairs. And, just like we do not accept Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, we condemn the DPRK’s constant nuclear sabre-rattling. We stand firmly by the Republic of Korea. Finally, we share much aligned visions for the future of this region overall. So we want to work with the Republic of Korea on a positive agenda for the Indo-Pacific. We propose to do this under our Global Gateway investment strategy. Global Gateway is already at work in the region, with an investment package for ASEAN countries.

But we can do more. There are a number of projects with great potential for the region. We discussed transport corridors in Central Asia, digitalisation in Vietnam, forestry in Mongolia – there are many opportunities for cooperation. I hope that we can get them off the ground as soon as possible and show to our people that democracies can deliver – and they deliver best. And indeed, one only has to look at the phenomenal success of the Republic of Korea to prove this point. And this despite living under the constant shadow of conflict, on a Peninsula that suffers from division into North and South. As a German citizen, I know what it means to live in a country long divided between East and West. I want to say to you: You will prevail. The future will ultimately bring a peaceful unification. Because the longing for freedom is ultimately always stronger than the power of any dictator.

So thank you again for your very warm welcome. I look forward to seeing you at the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September, and at our Summit in Brussels next year.

Source – EU Commission




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