Your Excellencies President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen,
I was disappointed to learn that the COVID-19 situation prevented the two of you from making your scheduled visits to Korea last month, but I am nevertheless pleased to see you both via video teleconference for now. I look forward to meeting you face to face in Korea as soon as the pandemic is brought under control.
This year is significant as it marks the tenth anniversary of the formation of the strategic partnership between the Republic of Korea and the European Union. We have closely worked together in many different areas, including economy and trade as well as climate change, development and healthcare. We have also cultivated our friendship based on the universal values of humanity that we share.
The EU is Korea’s largest investment partner and third-largest trading partner. Korea is the first country to have concluded all three key agreements with the EU. The Korea-EU FTA has served as a solid foundation for our economic cooperation. We are always reassured by the EU’s unwavering support and goodwill for my government’s peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
Based on the achievements we have accomplished together over the past decade, Korea will cooperate even more closely and join forces in preparing for the post-COVID-19 world.
In the course of responding to COVID-19, the world has once again experienced a great awakening with regards to the significance of climate issues and the environment and has felt the force of the rapidly advancing digital age. I believe that strengthening cooperation on climate change and the digital economy is of paramount importance as we prepare for the future together.
I would like to convey my respect to the new EU leadership for being at the forefront of addressing global climate and environmental issues through the European Green Deal policy. I hope the EU will become an important partner for my government’s Green New Deal policy.
Europe’s courage to overcome threats to peace with creative efforts to establish the European Coal and Steel Community provides great inspiration to all of us who yearn for peace on the Korean Peninsula. It is all the meaningful to hold a ROK-EU summit in the year marking the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration.
Through discussions on bilateral issues as well as global challenges at the summit meeting today, I hope that Korea and the EU will become partners that play a leading role in achieving peace and co-prosperity within the global community going forward.