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Korea, France Agree To Upgrade Ties On Economy, Culture

Korea, France Agree To Upgrade Ties On Economy, Culture

The leaders of South Korea and France on Wednesday agreed to upgrade their bilateral ties in politics, security and economy, adopting a set of specified action plans for strengthening comprehensive partnership.

Celebrating the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties between two countries this year, Presidents Park Geun-hye and Francois Hollande vowed upon their summit talks at Cheong Wa Dae to intensify bilateral consultations on defense and foreign policies, and diversify economic cooperative models.
In the presence of both leaders, the two sides signed a set of 11 agreements, including expanding high-level communication channels to cope with regional and global issues, such as climate change, and security.
The French president was in Seoul for a two-day visit as part of his Asian tour after Beijing. He was visiting Seoul for the first time in 15 years as a French leader. Hollande was accompanied by a delegatation of business representatives and senior ministers including Fleur Pellerin, the Korean-born French culture minister.

On economic front, the two sides agreed to bolster ties on transportation, nano and digital health care technologies, stressing they are crucial assets for generating engines for future growth. Technological collaboration will be expanded for space and nuclear energy industries.

“I expect to raise the level of bilateral ties one step higher, taking these action plans as a foundation,” Park said during the summit.

To promote exchanges between start-up companies from both countries, the French government will open French Tech Hub, an agency assisting start-up firms, in Seoul next year.

The launch of the French institution would expand cooperation with South Korea’s creative economy innovation centers operating under Park’s vision of creative economy, Cheong Wa Dae said. The two will produce synergy effects by integrating France’s strength in pure science and cultural heritage with Korea’s application technology and capacity to commercialize newly developed products. Joint efforts to develop technologies to better tackle climate change will be taken, including commercializing fuel cells for power generation and energy management in use of ICT.

The two sides also agreed to recognize degrees approved by higher education institutions in both countries and hold more joint academic sessions.

For better understanding of both cultures, the two sides agreed to expand transmissions of TV programs produced by state-funded broadcasting stations and list Korean language as a second-language subject for French students applying for college admissions.

Hollande also expressed his support for Park’s major North Korea policies including trustpolitik and Eurasia Initiative and also vowed to join global efforts to press North Korea to improve human rights condition.

Hollande arrived in Seoul late Tuesday after reaching a bilateral agreement with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to include checks on compliance during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference with about 80 heads of state in Paris later this month.

The agreement between China and France urges the global climate change pact to include measures to review emissions pledges every five years.
After Beijing, Hollande was expected to seek Seoul’s support before the Paris meeting kicks off on Nov. 30. Cheong Wa Dae has not confirmed Park’s attendance to the U.N. meeting yet.

South Korea has been an active advocate of green growth as the host country of the Green Climate Fund ― a global fund mechanism to finance developing countries’ adaptation to climate change.

South Korea became the first Asian country to set up a carbon emissions trading exchange in January, and finalized a 2030 target in June to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from business-as-usual levels ― higher than its earlier plan for a 15-30 percent cut. The country is among the world’s top 10 carbon emitters.

The French president said the negotiations would begin before the Paris conference at the annual G20 summit scheduled next week in Turkey.
“Success in Paris needs to be secured before the conference, and that’s why I thought it was necessary to stop over in Seoul,” Hollande said at a round table on climate change in Seoul on Wednesday morning.

Before the summit was held at Cheong Wa Dae, Park and Hollande attended a joint forum to promote business and education exchanges.
The forum was among over 260 events planned between September this year and December next year to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the diplomatic ties, officials said.

The leaders stressed the importance of nurturing creative and innovative minds as future assets to revive economies.

Rounds of discussions by business experts sought a possible partnership between the two countries in the pharmaceutical, defense, chemical and space industries.