- Ministry News
Meeting between Vice Foreign Minister Lee and Under–Secretary for International Economic Relations of Chilean Foreign Ministry
1. On the morning of August 26, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lee Taeho met with Mr. Rodrigo Yáñez Benítez, Under–Secretary for International Economic Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Chile who was on a visit to the Republic of Korea. The two sides exchanged views on ways for cooperation on COVID-19 response and substantive cooperation between the two countries in the sectors of economy and trade.
2. Vice Minister Lee welcomed the Under-Secretary’s visit to the ROK aimed at boosting exchanges, economic cooperation and investment between the two countries amid the unprecedented COVID-19 situation and highly appreciated the fact that the two countries have been maintaining friendly and cooperative relations in various areas since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1962 and comprehensive cooperative partnership in 2004.
° The Vice Minister commended the Chilean government over the recent, gradual decrease in the number of confirmed cases as a result of the efforts by the government and people of Chile, adding that the ROK will continue to share its experiences in disease prevention and control with the international community, including Chile, in the spirit of “solidarity and cooperation.”
3. Under–Secretary Yáñez mentioned that he had undergone COVID-19 testing at Incheon International Airport in order to cooperate actively on the ROK’s quarantine efforts and could see for himself that the ROK government is exemplary in responding to COVID-19.
° The Under-Secretary extended appreciation to the ROK government for its cooperation on COVID-19 response, including providing quarantine equipment worth 500,000 U.S. dollars to Chile in humanitarian assistance and holding a video conference on disease prevention and control between the health ministries of the two countries. In particular, he voiced hope for active cooperation with the ROK in the development of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines.
4. Vice Minister Lee expressed gratitude to the Chilean government for supporting the ROK’s efforts to become an Associated State of the Pacific Alliance (PA) and asked for continued support of the government of Chile, which is currently holding the presidency pro tempore of the PA. Under–Secretary Yáñez responded that the Chilean government will extend unwavering support to the ROK’s accession procedure to the PA as one of its Associated States in order to expand economic and trade cooperation between the ROK and the PA member states.
° Under-Secretary Yáñez also conveyed hope for an early resumption of negotiations on the ROK-Chile FTA, which have been suspended due to the COVID-19 crisis, and Vice Minister Lee expressed hope that the negotiations would move forward in a way that harmonizes mutual interests of the two countries.
5. Vice Minister Lee asked the Chilean government to help Korean companies increase their presence in infrastructure projects pursued by the Chilean government in order to invigorate the post-COVID-19 economy. He also extended appreciation to the Chilean government for granting exceptional entry to essential Korean workforce necessary for the Chacao Channel bridge construction project, which is underway by Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co., and asked for the Chilean government’s continued attention and support to ensure smooth progress of the project.
° Under-Secretary Yáñez explained that the Chacao Channel bridge construction project is a highly meaningful state-run project for the Chilean government as well, adding that the Chilean government will cooperate for its successful completion.
6. Vice Minister Lee mentioned that President Moon Jae-in had recently announced “a comprehensive plan for the Korean New Deal Initiative” designed for economic recovery and a great transition of the economic structure in the post- COVID-19 era. He went on to suggest seeking ways to work together by linking the four major cooperation projects -- in the areas of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the e-government system, cybersecurity and climate change -- which the Presidents of the ROK and Chile had agreed to implement during Chilean President Sebastián Piñera’s state visit to the ROK in April 2019 and “the comprehensive plan for the Korean New Deal Initiative.”
° In response, Under-Secretary Yáñez agreed on the Vice Minister’s proposal, and, saying that the Chilean government is actively implementing Fourth Industrial Revolution and environment-friendly projects, he expressed hope for close cooperation between the two countries.
7. Vice Minister Lee introduced Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee, who is running in the election of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as the right person for the position who has experiences, expertise, and the will to safeguard the multilateral regime as well as the ability to play a bridging role between developing and developed countries in reforming and strengthening the WTO. He went on to ask for the Chilean government’s support for Minister Yoo.
° Under-Secretary Yáñez mentioned that he is well aware of Minister Yoo’s capacity and expertise, adding that he will be mindful of the ROK’s request for support.
8. The visit to the ROK by Mr. Rodrigo Yáñez, Under–Secretary for International Economic Relations of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is seen to have great significance in that the two sides explored ways to seek cooperation between the ROK government’s “comprehensive plan for the Korean New Deal Initiative” and the Chilean government’s strategy to promote Fourth Industrial Revolution and environment-friendly industries as well as ways to step up bilateral cooperation in various fields with a view to boosting post-COVID-19 economy, including building presence in the field of infrastructure.