Yoon, EU leaders agree to strengthen cooperation on climate, health

May 22, 2023

President Yoon Suk Yeol and the leaders of the European Union agreed Monday to strengthen cooperation on climate, health and digital issues as they held a summit in Seoul on Monday.

Yoon met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel at the presidential office, marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations this year.

In a joint statement issued after the summit, the three leaders said they agreed to launch the South Korea-EU Green Partnership to increase cooperation on climate change, environmental protection and the green transition.

The leaders also welcomed the launch of the South Korea-EU Administrative Arrangement on Health Emergency Preparedness and Response in the Area of Medical Countermeasures, agreeing to assist each other in the identification of health threats and collaborate on research, innovation, manufacturing and production of medical countermeasures.

Under the arrangement, they also agreed to jointly help other countries build up their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats.

The joint statement said the leaders welcomed the launch of the South Korea-EU Digital Partnership last November.

“The Partnership will allow us to foster collaboration on semi-conductors, next generation mobile networks, quantum and High Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and online and digital platforms regulations,” the statement said.

Also contained in the statement was an agreement to establish a Strategic Dialogue at the foreign ministerial level to enhance cooperation on global peace and security, and to expand the existing Industrial Policy Dialogue to a Supply Chain and Industrial Policy Dialogue (SCIPD), with the aim of holding the first SCIPD session within this year.

Yoon, von der Leyen and Michel discussed North Korea’s nuclear program and human rights abuses.

“We strongly condemn the DPRK’s repeated illegal ballistic missile launches as well as its ongoing nuclear development and references to the possible use of nuclear weapons,” they said in the statement, referring to North Korea by the acronym of its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We express grave concern over violations and abuses of human rights in the DPRK,” they added.

The three leaders also said formal negotiations will begin for South Korea to join the Horizon Europe research and innovation program, with a budget of 95.5 billion euros, as an associated country, to help strengthen cooperation on cutting-edge and innovative technologies.