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Minister of Foreign Affairs Attends OECD’s 2019 Ministerial Council Meeting (May 22-23, Paris)
1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha attended the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM), held under the theme “Harnessing Digital Transition for Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges” in Paris, the French Republic, from May 22 to 23.
o Serving as Vice-Chair of this year’s MCM, the Republic of Korea made significant contributions to the meeting and work of the OECD, thereby enhancing the ROK’s status in the international community.
2. During a high-level panel on May 22, Minister Kang said that efforts for structural economic reforms and expansionary fiscal policy are necessary to respond to the global economic slowdown and additional downside risks, and that digital innovation is the key that enables sustainable economic development.
o Minister Kang explained that the ROK increased fiscal expenditure by 9.5 percent this year, and submitted a 6.7 trillion won supplementary budget to respond proactively to economic conditions.
3. Minister Kang also noted that the OECD Recommendation on Artificial Intelligence (AI) was adopted at the MCM for the first time, and promoted the ROK’s image as a country leading digital issues by explaining the ROK’s policies for supporting high-speed internet, including 5G.
o Minister Kang added that the challenges facing 5G include a human-centered approach to using technology, the pursuit of balance in freely using data, and international cooperation in the technology sector.
4. On May 23, Minister Kang chaired a meeting held under the theme “Realising the Digital Promise for Sustainability and Well-being.” In the meeting, she stressed that digital transformation is essential to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in the face of opportunities and challenges in digital transformation, it is important to eliminate the digital divide and establish relevant norms.
5. As a result of the MCM, the 2019 Ministerial Council Statement and the Statement of the Chair were announced. The ROK encouraged the OECD to include words* calling for further international cooperation on sharing data of transboundary movement of pollutants in the Statement of the Chair, thereby helping the OECD facilitate related work.
* We encourage the OECD to further international cooperation on sharing data of domestic or transboundary air, water and soil pollution.
o Speaking about the usefulness of digital technology, Minister Kang said that the fine dust problem is a very important issue directly related to the quality of life, and that digital technology could contribute to efforts to find the sources of pollution, trace the movement of pollutants, and resolve national, regional and international issues.
* unofficial translation
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