Seoul (AFP/APP): South Korea and Germany agreed to boost economic and security cooperation in the face of persisting global uncertainties after their leaders met in Seoul on Sunday.
Olaf Scholz, the first German chancellor to visit Seoul in 30 years, met President Yoon Suk Yeol for a summit on Sunday evening.
Yoon said after the talks they had agreed to deepen cooperation “in line with the changing times” by expanding trade and investment ties to high-tech industries such as hydrogen, semiconductors, biotechnology and clean energy.
“South Korea and Germany decided to strengthen the partnership in supply chains amid intensifying global economic instability and geopolitical conflicts,” Yoon told a joint news conference after the summit.
The summit agenda ranged widely from climate change to security policy in the Indo-Pacific region, with the two leaders discussing the war in Ukraine as well as the threats posed on the Korean peninsula by nuclear-armed North Korea.
Scholz travelled to the Demilitarised Zone dividing the two Koreas before the summit with Yoon.
“I was able to see with my own eyes what it is like to be in a situation where peace and security are seriously threatened,” Scholz told Yoon.
“What I’d like to emphasise is that the relationship between our two countries should be developed more closely from our experience of division,” he said.
The two leaders said Pyongyang has nothing to gain with its “illegal provocations” and agreed to work closely for the denuclearisation of North Korea.
- Ukraine support –
South Korea, the world’s ninth-largest arms exporter, has sent humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and has also sold tanks and howitzers to Poland.
However, it has a longstanding policy of not providing weapons to active conflict zones.
An official from the German government told reporters last week the two leaders would discuss Seoul’s plans for providing further assistance to Ukraine.
Yoon said after the summit South Korea and Germany would maintain their solidarity and support for Ukraine but did not elaborate on any new plans.
The South Korean leader also held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the first time on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima Sunday. He also met Zelensky’s wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, in Seoul last week.
At his meeting with Zelensky in Hiroshima, Yoon promised additional non-lethal aid to Ukraine, such as demining equipment and ambulances, at the request of the Ukrainian president, according to Yoon’s office.