I welcome President Sebastián Piñera and his delegation from Chile with greetings and the warm friendship of the people of the Republic of Korea.
President Piñera is the first Latin American head of state to make a state visit to Korea since the inauguration of my Administration. He is visiting Korea seven months after our first meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last September. Our special and invaluable meeting today will be long remembered.
Chile is an extraordinary friend to Korea. It was the first South American country to recognize the Government of the Republic of Korea. It provided great help during the Korean War and also was the first country with which Korea concluded a free trade agreement.
President Piñera and I reaffirmed our two countries’ solid friendship and trust. We discussed concrete measures to raise bilateral relations a step higher.
First, we agreed to further solidify institutional underpinnings for mutual prosperity.
Korea and Chile are leading economic hubs in Asia and Latin America, respectively. When Korea becomes an associate member of the Pacific Alliance, an FTA network linking our two regions will be established. It represents the creation of a tremendous economic cooperation foundation that spans the Pacific. I look forward to active support from Chile, which is scheduled to assume the Alliance presidency in the second half of this year.
In addition, we two leaders highly praised the Korea-Chile FTA for facilitating remarkable growth in bilateral trade and investment over the past 15 years. The ongoing negotiations to improve the FTA will systematically support future cooperation between our two countries.
Second, we agreed to expand the areas of cooperation to create future growth engines.
A Korean-led consortium is currently constructing the Chacao Bridge, which connects the island of Chiloé to mainland Chile. Built in the face of strong sea winds and tides, the Bridge will become a milestone for bilateral cooperation that enables mutual prosperity. I hope that an increasing number of Korean businesses will be able to participate in development projects for transport and information and communication infrastructure that the Chilean Government is prioritizing.
We also agreed to strengthen cooperation in four major areas with great potential: e-government, responses to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, cyber security, and climate change initiatives. Our two countries will share our knowledge and experiences and stay in lockstep with each other in the international arena.
This time, a national defense cooperation agreement was newly signed between our two countries. This is very significant in that the scope of bilateral cooperation has been expanded from the economy and trade to national defense. I am looking forward to national defense capability being strengthened based on the deep trust between our two countries.
Third, we agreed to closely work together for the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and Latin America.
Today, President Piñera expressed his unwavering support for the Korean Government’s efforts to achieve complete denuclearization and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. In a crucial moment for moving toward a new era of peace and prosperity, the support shown by President Piñera and the Chilean Government has been a great boost. I express my gratitude once more.
In the latter half of this year, the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC will take place in Chile. They are important international meetings for inclusive growth and the future of humanity. My respect goes to President Piñera’s global leadership. The Korean Government will also actively cooperate for the meetings’ success.
The bilateral summit with President Piñera today has brought the future of our two countries’ common prosperity closer. I hope that the friendship and cooperation between our two countries across the Pacific will become even deeper and wider.
Thank you. Gracias!