1. Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang Kyung-wha held the second Republic of Korea-Federal Republic of Germany Foreign Ministerial Strategic Dialogue with Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas at Villa Borsig of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany in Berlin on the morning of August 10 (local time), and discussed the ROK-Germany relations; cooperation in COVID-19 response and post-COVID-19 economic recovery; key global issues; and the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in other regions.
o The two Ministers agreed to hold the Strategic Dialogue on a regular basis at the 1st ROK-Germany Foreign Ministerial Strategic Dialogue held in Seoul two years ago, and accordingly agreed to hold the 2nd Strategic Dialogue in Berlin this year.
o The two Ministers visited the Berlin Wall Memorial Park after the meeting at the proposal of the German side, and held a joint press conference there.
2. The two Ministers noted with appreciation that as key allies, the two countries are closely cooperating even in the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, and that while receiving international attention for their exemplary responses to COVID-19, the two countries are also exerting their utmost efforts to support and revitalize the economy. In addition, they agreed to continue working together to bring the COVID-19 situation under control as soon as possible and ensure the global economy recovers from COVID-19.
o Regarding COVID-19, Minister Kang said that she is pleased to see close bilateral cooperation in COVID-19 response, including the joint video conference between the governments of the two countries (April 3), and hoped to overcome the COVID-19 situation as soon as possible in cooperation with Germany, which is recognized as an exemplary country in Europe in COVID-19 response. She went on to highly commend Germany’s leadership role in successful collaboration among the EU member states, including the recent agreement on the EU’s Recovery Fund.
o For post-COVID-19 economic recovery, Minister Maas suggested maintaining the rules-based, free, and fair multilateral trading system and making joint efforts to establish a sustainable economic structure.
o Minister Kang took note of the EU’s announcement of the “European Green Deal” and expressed hope that the two sides would explore ways of cooperation between the “Green New Deal” that the ROK is pursuing and the “European Green Deal.”
o The two sides, noting that vaccines and treatments for COVID-19 are public goods for all humankind, agreed to continue cross-border cooperation to develop and distribute them. Minister Kang asked Germany to join the ROK-based International Vaccine Institute (IVI) which is actively participating in vaccine development.
o In addition, the two sides shared the view that even amid the COVID-19 situation, essential people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, including travel for business, academic and humanitarian purposes, should not be hampered, and agreed to continue bilateral consultations on the issue.
3. Minister Maas stressed the need to strengthen multilateralism to respond to global issues, including COVID-19, and said that the ROK and Germany, sharing basic values of democracy, human rights, and the market economy, are important partners in strengthening multilateralism.
o Minister Kang praised Germany for showing leadership by initiating the Alliance for Multilateralism, and said that she is pleased with the ROK’s participation in the Alliance for Multilateralism. She also offered to continue close communication between the two countries not only on COVID-19 response, but also on various global issues, including climate change, and disarmament and non-proliferation.
o At the joint press conference, Minister Maas said that Germany welcomes the ROK’s participation in the G7 summit, in case it is held in the fall this year. He said that Germany is particularly happy about the ROK’s participation, as the ROK is not only an important country in the international community, but also a close cooperative partner sharing values with Germany. Minister Kang said that the ROK welcomes the invitation from the United States and will take an active part in the summit.
o Meanwhile, Minister Kang requested Germany’s special attention and support for Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee running for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General.
4. Furthermore, the two Ministers exchanged views on the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in major regions.
o Minister Kang hoped that Germany, which holds the presidency of the EU Council for the second half of this year, would wisely overcome internal and external challenges faced by the EU, and expressed appreciation for Germany’s consistent support for the ROK government’s efforts towards peace on the Korean Peninsula. Minister Maas commended the ROK government’s efforts to improve inter-Korean relations, and recognized the importance of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue.
5. Minister Kang’s visit to Germany, which is her first foreign trip in about six months since the beginning of the COVID-19 situation, is part of the efforts to bring diplomacy back on track by resuming face-to-face meetings. The visit is seen to have served as an opportunity to deepen strategic cooperation with Germany, which, as the ROK’s key partner in Europe as well as a country that holds the presidency of the EU Council and a member of the G7, is leading Europe’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
o The two Ministers shared the view that their meeting has served as an opportunity to step up bilateral collaboration based on a broad exchange of views not only on issues of mutual interest, but also on the international situation and global affairs, and agreed to hold the next Strategic Dialogue in Seoul.