- Ministry News
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Holds Video Conference with State Secretary of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office
1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong Kun had a video conference with State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany Miguel Berger from 6:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., December 17, and discussed bilateral relations, COVID-19 response and facilitating the movement of essential personnel between the two countries, and the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in other regions.
2. The two sides noted with appreciation that despite the spread of COVID-19, the two countries have continued strategic communication this year, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang, Kyung-wha’s three visits to Germany (in February and August) and today’s virtual meeting between the Vice Minister and the State Secretary, and agreed to continue such close high-level exchanges next year.
o State Secretary Berger noted that Korea has become a model for Germany as an exemplary case of a democratic country’s COVID-19 response, and suggested that the two countries collaborate seamlessly not only at the bilateral level but also on the global stage, including the G7 and the G20, and continue to work closely together in strengthening the multilateral international order, saying that Korea, which shares core values with Germany, is its key cooperation partner.
o The two sides shared the COVID-19 situation in their countries and the governments’ response efforts, and agreed on the need to join the international community’s efforts to ensure universal and equitable access to vaccines, including the COVAX Facility. In addition, Vice Minister Choi asked for Germany’s interest and participation in the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) located in Seoul.
3. The two sides repeatedly agreed on the importance of facilitating the movement of essential personnel between the two countries even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as discussed at the 2nd Korea-Germany Foreign Ministerial Strategic Dialogue (Aug. 10) and the phone call between the leaders of the two countries (Oct. 1), and agreed to take concrete measures to that end from January 1 next year.
o This is expected to ease the inconvenience faced by Korean nationals visiting Germany to meet relatives other than direct family members (parents and children), make business trips, study, or prepare for employment.
4. Vice Minister Choi explained the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Korean government’s efforts to establish peace on the Peninsula, expressed appreciation for the German government’s consistent support on this regard, and said that he is looking forward to Germany’s continued constructive role.
o State Secretary Berger said that Germany, as the chair of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea (2019-2020), is very much interested in the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and reaffirmed Germany’s unwavering support for the Korean Peninsula peace process.
5. The two sides also had extensive discussions on the regional issues and agreed to continue close communication and cooperation between the two countries in the changing global landscape, including the launch of the new U.S. administration and the end of the Brexit transition period.
o State Secretary Berger stated that the Indo-Pacific Strategy announced by the German government in September is not directed against any country but pursues comprehensive cooperation. Vice Minister Choi noted that the Strategy is consistent with Korea’s principle for regional cooperation that seeks to promote openness, inclusiveness, and multilateralism, and appreciated Germany’s efforts to expand partnership in the region. Vice Minister Choi went on to say that the Korean government is also actively pursuing cooperation with ASEAN through the New Southern Policy and making efforts to seek synergy between the Policy and other regional initiatives.
o Meanwhile, State Secretary Berger showed interest in the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and developments regarding the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Vice Minister Choi said that the signing of the RCEP is a result of the efforts for greater regional cooperation led mainly by ASEAN and that it will facilitate regional trade and investment, thereby contributing to the recovery of multilateralism and the promotion of free trade around the world.
6. Vice Minister Choi is continuing close communication on stronger cooperation and global affairs with key European countries even amid COVID-19 by holding the high-level consultation with Germany, Korea’s largest trading partner in Europe which holds the Presidency of the EU Council for the second half of 2020, following the high-level dialogues with the EU as well as key EU member states including Italy and Spain.