President Moon embarks on four-nation Europe tour

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in embarked on a nine-day trip to Europe on Saturday largely aimed at rallying international support for his country's efforts to denuclearize North Korea and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon will first make a state visit to France for a summit with President Emmanuel Macron, his office Cheong Wa Dae said.

"With France, a permanent member of the UNSC, (President Moon) plans to discuss ways to increase the countries' strategic cooperation in areas of diplomacy and security," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said earlier.

In his third and latest summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month in Pyongyang, Moon agreed to resume his country's economic cooperation for the North as soon as conditions are met.

Such conditions require the removal of international sanctions imposed on the North by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The South Korean president has repeatedly stressed the need to further motivate the communist state by providing what he calls timely rewards for its denuclearization steps that include the dismantlement of its only known nuclear test site.

Moon will head to Italy on Tuesday for a three-day visit and meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday. He plans to deliver an invitation from the North Korean leader for the pontiff to visit Pyongyang.

"While meeting Pope Francis, (President Moon) will deliver Chairman Kim Jong-un's invitation stating that he will 'ardently welcome the Pope if he visits Pyongyang,'" the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said, noting the North Korean leader made such remarks in his latest summit with Moon.

Moon will fly to Brussels on Thursday to take part in the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, where he will also hold a bilateral summit with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.

"At the ASEM summit, to be held under the theme of Global Partners for Global Challenges, President Moon is set to explain how our inclusive growth strategy can contribute to sustainable growth and development of the international community," it said.

"Also, the president is expected to reaffirm the international community's support for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula in the two summit meetings," it added, referring to the ASEM summit and the South Korea-EU summit.

Moon will leave Belgium on Friday to head for Denmark, the last stop in his four-nation Europe tour.

In Copenhagen, the president will attend the inaugural summit of th Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 or P4G, a global network of leaders, NGOs and companies to help deliver on the United Nations' sustainable development goals and address major global issues, including climate change.

The president will return home next Sunday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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