President Lee Meets Foreign Counterparts
Focuses on Promotion of Economic Ties
President Lee Myung-bak continued his summit diplomacy as part of efforts to help promote the economic relations with relevant foreign countries and lay the ground for the coming G-20 meeting of leaders of major countries. The President met with his German counterpart at Cheong Wa Dae on Feb. 8 for a bilateral summit. German President Horst Koehler stayed here in Seoul from Feb. 7 to 10.
The two leaders had an intensive discussion on such issues as the two sides' collaboration for a successful G20 summit, early ratification and implementation of the Korea-EU FTA, enhancement of bilateral trade and investment, development of recyclable energy and the promotion of green growth.
The leaders also made an assessment to the steady development of the two countries' collaboration in political, economic, social and cultural fields since the establishment of diplomatic ties. In particular they expressed praise for their bilateral cooperation so far, which has been based on their shared experiences of forging outstanding economic growth from the ashes of war and the division of their countries.
The President stressed to his German counterpart that enhanced bilateral trade and investment between the two countries is important and also asked for Germany's continued support for early ratification of the Korea-EU FTA.
The President also asked for Germany's support for a successful G20 summit to be held in Seoul on Nov. 11-12. President Koehler commented in response that Korea is drawing the world's attention as chair of the summit this year, and suggested his country and Korea together make a positive contribution to the new global economic order through this occasion.
President Koehler is a capable economic and financial expert, with a storied career as former chief of the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as a G7 Sherpa (personal representative).
Meanwhile, taking the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of Germany's reunification, the two heads agreed to share Germany's experience of social re-integrationThey also decided to foster their common understanding of and cooperation on such global issues as regional matters, including those of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and Europe, international economic recovery, the reconstruction of the war-torn Afghanistan, response to climate change and development cooperation for poor nations.
The Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said that Koehler's visit, the first one by a German president in 8 years, has reconfirmed the friendly and cooperative relationship between the two countries and reassured the two leaders' willingness to join efforts for the success of the G20 summit, resolution of global problems including climate change, and the promotion of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
The President also met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov for a summit at the President's office on Feb. 11.
The leaders expressed satisfaction about the continuous development in the two countries' political, economic and cultural ties, and reconfirmed their willingness to further foster the "strategic partnership" between Korea and Uzbekistan. The two presidents evaluated the expansion of the two countries' cooperation in the fields of natural resources development, construction, information technology and agriculture, and agreed to further boost their industrial ties.
During their talks, Presidents Lee and Karimov especially focused on the discussion about the joint development projects of Uzbekistan's oil and gas fields and the modernization of Navoi Airport's logistics system. They also shared thoughts on their cooperation for energy resource development and environment-friendly growth.
The President promised to expand Korea's support for Uzbekistan in the areas of health care, education, renewable energy development and industrial development, and President Karimov expressed his gratitude for such plans.
The leaders also agreed to foster bilateral ties in culture and tourism as well. They welcomed the bilateral agreement between the two countries to build a "Seoul Park" in Tashkent and expressed hopes that the construction would contribute to an enhanced cultural understanding and friendship between their citizens. The President thanked President Karimov for his support for Korea's bid to win the 2018 Winter Olympics and for Uzbekistan's early decision to join the 2012 Yeosu World Exposition.
The leaders also agreed that North Korea should give up its nuclear programs in a verifiable manner in order to advance peace and prosperity in the Northeast Asian region. The President had a bilateral summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at Cheong Wa Dae on Feb. 10. President Abbas said he wishes to learn from Korea's experiences of economic development while showing respect to the country and its people for their democratization and economic advances in a short period of time. The President told the Palestinian President that he would keep supporting Palestine's stabilization and added that Korea's experience would be of assistance to Palestine's economic growth.
Meanwhile, the President listened to President's Abbas' brief explanation on the current relationship between Palestine and Israel, and expressed hope that bilateral peace talks between the two would resume at an early date. Abbas it the first Palestinian President to visit Korea.
Cheong Wa Dae said President Lee is poised to step up his efforts toward the successful hosting of the G-20 summit scheduled for early November through a series of summit meetings. nw
President Lee Myung-bak shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Habbas prior to talks at Cheong Wa Dae on Feb. 10.
President Lee Myung-bak meets with John Dramani Mahama, the Vice President of Ghana at Cheong Wa Dae on March. 3.