Your Excellency President Van der Bellen, I am grateful to you for your special hospitality. It is very meaningful for me to be the first President of the Republic of Korea to make a state visit to Austria as next year marks the 130th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. It is my great pleasure to have an in-depth discussion today about how to expand bilateral cooperation. I hope our meeting will remain – in the words of Austria’s national flower edelweiss – a “treasured memory” for both our peoples.
Sharing such universal values as democracy, human rights and a market economy, Austria and Korea have advanced bilateral cooperation in a wide range of areas, including the economy, culture, arts, science and technology. Today, the President and I reviewed how our countries have used the strength of longstanding trust and friendship to develop bilateral cooperation in numerous fields. We also discussed how to further deepen that cooperation. Giving high marks to the fact that our two countries’ trade volume has stayed steady despite the COVID-19 crisis, we agreed to continue to expand cooperation in future cutting-edge industries as well as science and technology.
Our countries are very important partners for each other when it comes to ushering in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Austria is known for advanced scientific and technological capabilities as evidenced by its many Nobel laureates in basic science, and Korean businesses possess world-class commercialization and industrialization abilities. Given this, we agreed to cooperate to produce mutually beneficial outcomes by combining our countries’ respective strengths.
In addition, President Van der Bellen and I discussed how to resolve common tasks facing the international community, including overcoming COVID-19, climate change responses and other environmental issues. The President congratulated me on the success of the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit held in May, and I extended my heartfelt appreciation for the support of the President and the Austrian people.
The President and I also agreed to further strengthen cooperation to achieve an inclusive green recovery and our vision of carbon neutrality. We also decided to jointly support the international community’s efforts to address climate and environmental issues, including at COP26 [the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties] to be held in November this year.
Korea also hopes to host COP28, scheduled for 2023. I believe I misspoke about the number earlier and mentioned COP29 to the President. Let me clarify by saying Korea intends to host COP28.
We will also join together to surmount the pending challenge of COVID-19. The President and I shared an understanding that it is important to expand vaccine supply and inoculations to overcome COVID-19 and achieve economic recovery. We also discussed how to cooperate with respect to global peace and prosperity and recent regional developments around the world. In particular, I am very grateful to the Austrian Government for its consistent support for permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Finally, we agreed to work together to promote cooperation in culture, arts and tourism and exchanges between future generations. Using this visit as an opportunity, we will sign a cultural cooperation agreement and a youth exchange implementation MOU. The agreement and MOU – to
be signed ahead of the 130th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties – will serve as the foundation for expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges between our citizens.
I express appreciation once more for the warm hospitality extended by the Austrian people and the President. I look forward to our two countries working together as reliable strategic partners for mutual benefit and common prosperity to build a hopeful, prosperous future.