By Yoon Sojung
President Moon Jae-in came back home after ending a nine-day trip to Europe on Oct. 21. During the trip, President Moon visited five European countries and attended the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit where he boosted future-looking cooperation between Korea and Europe and reaffirmed their support for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon’s meeting with Pope Francis on Oct. 18 was the most noteworthy event in his itinerary.
The president delivered an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the pope. The pope asked for an official invitation and expressed his support for President Moon’s effort for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.
Pope Francis highly valued Seoul’s Korean peace process. The pope told the president, “Do not stop but go forward. Do not be afraid,” while encouraging him with all support.
While in Europe, President Moon also told leaders of European countries about Seoul’s effort for peace on the Korean Peninsula and reconfirmed their support.
Starting from the summit with French President Emanuel Macron on Oct. 16, President Moon held summit with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Rome on Oct. 18, and a summit with Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen in Copenhagen on Oct. 20. While attending the ASEM Summit in Brussels, Belgium, he also held meetings with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha on Oct. 19.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merke I shared a common understanding on the need for concrete measures to boost the North Korean denuclearization process in a substantial manner. The two leaders expressed their support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Both the U.K. and Germany are U.N. Security Council permanent member countries.
While in Europe, President Moon also explained the value of an “inclusive state” and emphasized its importance. On Oct. 20, at the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Copenhagen Summit 2018, President Moon said that “Achieving sustainable development and responding to climate change cannot be accomplished by a single country alone.” In the meeting, President Moon highlighted the need for spreading inclusion through sharing successful cases beyond border and sectors.