Foreign Minister Visits Romania

1. Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se made an official visit to Romania from February 19 till 21 and held a meeting with Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu and paid courtesy calls on President Klaus Werner Ihoannis and Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu.

Minister Yun's visit to Romania, a member state of both the EU and NATO as well as the Republic of Korea's only strategic partner in Southeast Europe since 2008, marked the first by an ROK Foreign Minister in 15 years.

2. In their meeting, the two Foreign Ministers discussed in depth ways to enhance the bilateral strategic partnership, promote substantive cooperation and step up coordination on the North Korean nuclear issue; as well as regional and global issues. They agreed to work together to diversify two-way exchanges and cooperation.

The Romanian side attached historical significance to Minister Yun's visit as an opportunity to enhance the bilateral strategic partnership. The two sides agreed to put into high gear various inter-governmental consultative channels, including their joint committee on industrial cooperation and policy planning consultation mechanism.

The two top diplomats agreed to promote economic cooperation in a mutually complementary manner. To that end, they agreed to broaden the scope of strategic cooperation beyond steel, automobile and other manufacturing industries, where companies of the two countries are working robustly together, to include other promising sectors, such as healthcare, medical service, transportation infrastructure, environment, energy and other new industries.

The two Ministers, in view of the importance of exchanges and cooperation in the fields of culture and education between younger generations of the two countries, agreed to conclude "an agreement for exchanges and cooperation on education and culture" in a bid to steadily enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of the two countries.

On the heels of their meeting, the two top diplomats signed a "memorandum of understanding between the Foreign Ministries" of their two countries to seek concrete cooperation in that regard.

3. With regard to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the two Ministers, calling North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, such as demonstrated by its launch of a ballistic missile on February 12, an urgent and grave threat to peace and stability of the entire international community, agreed to work closely together to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Minister Yun pointed out that the holding of the first special session on the Korean Peninsula the week before in the 53-year history of the Munich Security Conference illustrates that the North Korean nuclear program is one of the biggest present threats to the international community. He went on to mention that the international community should continue enforcing comprehensive, across-the-board sanctions and putting pressure on the North in a bid to give the North no other option but to take the path toward denuclearization.

In this vein, Minister Yun extended appreciation to the Romanian government for taking an active part in the efforts to sanction and pressure North Korea, including by issuing a statement of condemnation in response to the North's launch of a ballistic missile on February 12 and submitting a report on the implementation of the latest Security Council resolution on the North. He asked Romania to continue efforts to thoroughly implement the relevant Security Council resolutions and in the lead-up to the EU's adoption of unilateral sanctions.

In response, Minister Melescanu, condemning in strong terms nuclear and missile development by North Korea as a flagrant violation of international norms, stated that Romania will cooperate in the efforts to thoroughly implement the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and in the lead-up to the EU's adoption of unilateral sanctions against the North.

Minister Yun pointed out that the successful regime transition of Romania has many implications for the future of the Korean Peninsula, including its unification, asking the Romanian government to further share its experiences with the ROK.

4. With respect to regional and global issues, the two Ministers engaged in an extensive exchange of views on the ROK's relations with China and Japan as well as the situation in Northeast Asia; and such European issues as possible impacts of Brexit and major elections to take place in Europe in 2017. They agreed to work closely with each other to meet challenges facing the international community in this "era of uncertainty."

5. During his visit to Romania, Minister Yun paid courtesy calls on President Klaus Werner Ihoannis and Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, during which the two sides discussed ways to boost high-level exchanges; increase trade, investment and substantive cooperation; and work together on the North Korean nuclear program and other issues concerning foreign affairs and security.

6. Minister Yun's official visit to Romania is seen to have helped move substantially forward the ROK's strategic partnership forged in 2008; pave the way for increased future-oriented substantive cooperation on energy, infrastructure and environment; and step up cooperation on regional and global security affairs with Romania, a member state of both the EU and NATO.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Korea

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