President Moon Jae-in held talks with Finland’s new Prime Minister Antti Rinne for 55 minutes from 9:30 a.m. (local time) today in Helsinki. They discussed a wide range of issues, including Korea-EU cooperation; ways to expand investments; cooperation in the realms of startups, SMEs and innovation; and the enhancement of substantive collaboration in next-generation communication, healthcare and energy.
President Moon said, “Finland has been able to grow into a mecca for startups worldwide because the Finnish Government has created a world-class startup ecosystem and provided active policy backing.” He added that the Korean Government is also concentrating its policy capabilities to invigorate a startup ecosystem by making one of its administrative priorities the creation of a nation of startups that promotes innovation.
In addition, President Moon spoke highly of Helsinki’s annual winter event “SLUSH,” the world’s leading startup festival. He expounded on the latest statistics on Korean startups – investments in new business ventures amounting to 3.4 trillion won, the number of newly-established corporations in 2018 exceeding 100,000 and the number of business unicorns increasing to six.
Prime Minister Rinne said that significant technological changes are now underway in Finland, adding that his country is leading the world in some areas such as 5G and energy. Noting that Nokia successfully demonstrated its 5G mobile communication pilot service for the first time during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the Prime Minister said he looks forward to cooperating with Korea in more diverse areas going forward.
Expressing his agreement, President Moon requested cooperation in future industries that will help improve people's quality of life, such as healthcare, transport, e-health and big data, building on Korea's world debut of 5G commercial service and the initiation of 6G research in Finland.
President Moon and Prime Minister Rinne said last year saw a significant increase in trade between Korea and Finland, adding that the potential for further increases remains. The two leaders agreed to improve the Korea-EU FTA in a mutually beneficial manner in consideration of recent trends and to reinvigorate various consultative bodies, including the Korea-EU joint committees on the economy as well as on science and technology.
Prime Minister Rinne reiterated that he hoped that exchanges and cooperation in more diverse areas will expand beyond ongoing fields of collaboration. Speaking of yesterday’s signing of an MOU on the launch of a direct Busan-Helsinki flight, the Prime Minister said the route would play a significant role in Korea’s exchanges not only with Finland but also with Northern Europe.
The President and Prime Minister shared mutual understanding, in particular, on many aspects of an aging population, a concern shared by both countries. The Prime Minister noted that the population of Finland is aging rapidly, expressing the hope that bilateral exchanges and cooperation in e-health will expand further.
President Moon said it is important for countries to deal with issues related to an aging society. The President added that both countries would likely benefit from the Korean Government taking responsibility for dementia patients, expanding medical support and creating jobs for senior citizens, as well as bilateral cooperation on building big data for the medical industry.
In addition, President Moon and Prime Minister Rinne agreed to expand bilateral cooperation through in-depth discussions on digital healthcare, new renewable energy, and the food industry as well as fine dust and other environmental issues.