Leaders of S. Korea, France agree to improve ties, denuclearize N. Korea

PARIS, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed Monday to further improve their countries’ bilateral relationship and work together to peacefully denuclearize North Korea.

In a summit held in Paris, the two leaders also agreed to expand their cooperation in major global issues, such as climate change, Moon’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

“The two leaders agreed to expand the countries’ bilateral trade and investment based on the countries’ comprehensive partnership for the 21st century established in 2004, and to take joint efforts to develop new growth engines in the fourth industrial revolution by expanding their cooperation in areas, including the science technology, new industry, SMEs and startup sectors,” it said.

The South Korea-France summit followed an official welcome ceremony to mark Moon’s first state visit to the European country. The South Korean president arrived here Saturday.

Moon sought France’s support for his efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear ambitions as his trip followed his visit to Pyongyang last month for his third and latest summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“President Moon explained the outcome of the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang and recent conditions on the Korean Peninsula while expressing his gratitude to President Macron for the support he has offered for improvements in the South-North Korean ties and a reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsula,” the press release said.

Moon asked for France’s continued support for Seoul’s efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and establish lasting peace, noting France plays an important role as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, as well as a key member of the European Union and the Group of 7, it added.

The French president praised Seoul’s efforts to establish peace, noting such efforts are beginning to make significant progress, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

“He said France will continue to play a constructive role in the peace-building process on the Korean Peninsula while continuing to support our government’s efforts,” it said.

The leaders were set to hold a joint press conference later in the day to explain the outcome of their bilateral summit.

The Moon-Macron summit marked the second of its kind since both leaders took office in May 2017.

Moon will later attend a state dinner to be hosted by his French counterpart.

The South Korean president will leave Paris on Tuesday to head for Italy where he will make official visits to Rome and the Vatican.

He is currently on a four-nation tour that will later take him to Belgium for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit that will involve the heads of state or government from 50 other countries.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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