First of all, I offer my deepest sympathy to the people of France and the victims affected by the great loss of lives in flooding caused by torrential rains in southern France today.
I am truly grateful to President Macron and the French people for their warm welcome extended to me and my delegation.
France and Korea are old friends. I am very pleased to make a state visit to France the first event in my tour of Europe.
President Macron and I held our second meeting since our first at the G20 summit last year. I feel we are very close because we also have communicated with each other by phone on several occasions.
We share a lot in common. We were elected president with the backing of people yearning for change. We took office at approximately the same time. The Korean people call us presidential inauguration donggi [a Korean word for people who enter school or work together].
We both have strong convictions and commitments regarding peace as well.
This year marks the significant 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. After overcoming the wounds of war, France has moved forward unremittingly toward freedom and peace. The Paris Peace Forum to be held next month on the same day that the War ended will become yet another milestone. I express my respect for the leadership of President Macron.
We two leaders are making extensive efforts to make Europe and the Korean Peninsula peaceful and prosperous.
Today, we agreed on the necessity of completely removing the vestiges of the Cold War lingering on the Korean Peninsula.
We shared an understanding of the historic meaning of the Panmunjom Declaration and the Sentosa Agreement. We also highly evaluated the measures sincerely implemented by South and North Korea and the United States.
In the process of pursuing complete denuclearization and the settlement of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, I look forward to contributions and a leading role from France, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and a key nation in the European Union. I thank President Macron for his unwavering support for peace on the Peninsula. My appreciation goes to President Macron once again for his remarks that France will remain a partner of Korea to the end until complete denuclearization is achieved on the Korean Peninsula.
We discussed diverse and concrete measures to develop a comprehensive partnership for the 21st century between France and the Republic of Korea in a forward-looking manner.
First, we agreed to further promote strategic communication between our two nations.
Close communication between our two leaders will continue. In this sense, I express my gratitude to President Macron for accepting my invitation today and promising to visit Korea next year.
We will also strive to enhance exchanges and policy consultations between our two countries' high-ranking officials in foreign affairs and national defense. We will work together more closely for peace and stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in the international community.
Second, we came to an agreement to make joint efforts to address global issues.
President Macron is exercising his leadership in the international arena in terms of climate change responses. For its part, the Republic of Korea is rendering support for sustainable development among developing countries through the Global Green Growth Institute and other organizations. France's participation in the efforts of the Institute will lend tremendous strength.
It is also important to firmly establish a free and fair trade order. Our two countries will continue working together to prevent the spread of protectionism and create a rules-based trade environment, including reforms for the World Trade Organization.
Third, we concurred on drastically expanding substantive bilateral cooperation.
Our two countries will strive to achieve tangible outcomes for our peoples by further increasing bilateral trade and investment. In this regard, I have conveyed Korea’s concerns about recent European Union safeguard measures on steel imports.
I ask for President Macron’s understanding and cooperation to make sure that both countries’ related industries can grow in a mutually beneficial manner.
We also agreed to further boost cooperation on new industries. Our two countries have excellent advanced science and technology and commercialization technology. Bilateral cooperation is expected to create tremendous synergy.
Above all, our two countries decided to actively utilize the co-invested Korea-France joint international research and development project and the science and technology cooperation action plan, which was adopted today. Bilateral cooperation will be expanded to include such areas as big data, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and space development so that it will lead to economic growth and job creation.
In addition, we agreed to allow outstanding Korean companies to participate in the development of France’s aviation industry and provide occasions to increase the number of flights between the two countries by seeking ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in aviation.
Fourth, people-to-people exchanges among future generations and cooperation in education will be actively sought.
Student exchange programs between the Korea Universities for Science and Technology and Advanced Research (K-STAR), an alliance of five science and technology universities, and the National Institutes of Applied Sciences (INSA Group), a federation of six French engineering schools, were agreed to this time. I hope that they will provide valuable opportunities for students, who will open up a bright future, to form heart-to-heart connections and demonstrate their abilities.
Our two countries have unique mother tongues we are proud of. Products with labels in French are very popular in Korea. I am very pleased to hear that the use and learning of Korean has been increasing recently in France. Through the exchange of languages, our two peoples will be able to more deeply understand each other’s culture and history.
I look forward to President Macron’s visit to Korea next year helping further develop not only friendship between our two leaders but also the friendly cooperative relations between our two countries.