1. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, together with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, held the second Republic of Korea-France foreign ministerial strategic dialogue in Paris on October 23. In their meeting, the two top diplomats exchanged a wide range of views on ways to move the bilateral relations forward, coordinate on the North Korean nuclear issue, and work together on global issues.
※ Prior to the second ROK-France strategic dialogue with her counterpart, Minister Kang laid a wreath at the Korean War memorial in Paris on October 22; hosted a dinner on October 22 for major figures from various sectors, including the government, the parliament, businesses and education, who have contributed to the friendship and cooperation between the two countries; and held an interview on October 23 with France 24, an international news TV channel of France.
2. Minister Kang expressed pleasure over her first visit to France, the ROK’s traditional ally that had fought alongside the ROK in the Korean War as well as its “comprehensive partner for the 21st century,” since her taking up the post. She noted with appreciation that the enduring enhancement of friendship and cooperation between the two countries is attributable to noble sacrifices and devotion of the French soldiers, who had fought to safeguard freedom and democracy of the ROK.
° Minister Le Drian attached significance to the ROK as a leading country in terms of the efforts to resolve global issues, as well as France’s major cooperative partner.
3. The two Ministers agreed to put in high gear the ministerial consultative mechanisms on foreign affairs, economy, education and science, and national defense, as agreed at the bilateral summit talks held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in July.
4. The two Ministers took note of remarkable advances in the bilateral relations over recent years, as can be seen from the “Years 2015-2016 of ROK-France Bilateral Exchanges” event held in celebration of the 130th anniversary of diplomatic relations, the largest of its kind held by the two countries. They agreed to continually step up comprehensive cooperation in various areas, including trade, investment, industry, technology, clean energy, space, aviation, national defense, science, tourism, education, and provincial government affairs.
° In particular, the two top diplomats hailed robust cooperation in such high-tech industries as those involving bio-health, nano-electronics, self-driving vehicles and the fusion of information and communications technology (ICT), which has been facilitated through the forum for cooperation on new industries and technology. They voiced hope that the Korean hall in the international campus village and the Korean tourism and cultural center, both scheduled to open in Paris in 2018, will contribute to the efforts to promote mutual understanding and exchanges between the peoples of the two countries.
※ Three rounds of the ROK-France forum for cooperation on new industries and technology have been held by the ROK Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance since 2014 to boost bilateral cooperation on new industries and technological exchanges. The fourth of its kind is scheduled to take place in Paris in November 2017.
※ The Korean hall, set to open in the international campus village in Paris in the first half of the year 2018, will consist of a dormitory, a cafeteria and a study room for Korean students in France. The Korean tourism and cultural center will be home to a Korean Cultural Center and an office of the Korea Tourism Organization.
5. The two Ministers agreed to increase exchanges and cooperation in the areas of sports and tourism during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and on, and to continue cooperation with the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) toward the success of the PyeongChang Olympics.
° Minister Le Drian, taking note of the ROK’s accession to the OIF in November 2016 as an observer, asked the ROK to continue playing an active role in the body.
※ The OIF, founded to promote democracy, the rule of law, human rights and dialogue as well as to revive economy in French-speaking countries, is comprised of some 80 countries. The ROK joined the body in 2016 as an observer, which marked the first by a Northeast Asian country.
6. The two Ministers shared the concern that with North Korea launching a series of provocations to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities, its nuclear threat is the most urgent and grave one to the global community. They reaffirmed shared position that the North Korean nuclear issue must be resolved through sanctions, pressure, dialogue and all the other available peaceful means.
° Minister Kang extended deep appreciation to France for, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and major member of the EU, playing a constructive role toward a peaceful resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue. Minister Le Drian expressed strong support for the ROK government’s efforts to lead the North toward denuclearization.
° The two Ministers drew a common understanding that under the current circumstances, it is of paramount importance to manage the situation on the Korean Peninsula stably and in a way that will not further exacerbate tensions on the Peninsula. Saying that if and when North Korea abandons nuclear ambitions, it will face a bright future, the two top diplomats urged with one voice that the North come forward for denuclearization talks.
° The ROK-France foreign ministerial meeting is seen to have served as a significant opportunity to reaffirm the steadfast coordination between the two traditional allies on North Korean issues and to discuss in depth ways to induce the North toward denuclearization talks.
7. The two Ministers agreed to work more closely together on such global challenges as those concerning climate change, the UN’s peacekeeping operations and presence at international organizations. In particular, in view of climate change as an urgent issue the international community should respond jointly to, the two sides concurred with the need to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.
° In addition, the two top diplomats agreed to hold their third strategic dialogue in Seoul at a mutually convenient time in 2018 and to continue close communication with each other.
8. The second ROK-France strategic dialogue is seen to have served as an opportunity to promote the bilateral comprehensive partnership as well as cooperation on the regional and global levels.
* unofficial translation