1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong Kun had the 1st Republic of Korea-Italian Republic Strategic Dialogue virtually with Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manlio Di Stefano at 17:00-18:00, October 30, and discussed in depth cooperation in COVID-19 response and post-COVID-19 recovery; substantive cooperation in economic affairs, science and technology, and cultural affairs; global issues including climate change and environment; and the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in other major regions as well as cooperation on the international stage.
2. The Strategic Dialogue was the first one held between the two countries as a follow-up to the ROK-Italy summit in October 2018. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been strengthening close communication and strategic cooperation even amid the COVID-19 pandemic with major European countries, including Germany which holds the Presidency of the EU Council, and the United Kingdom and Italy which will assume the Presidency of the G7 and the G20 next year, respectively, through foreign ministerial-level strategic dialogues with Germany (August, Berlin) and the UK (September, Seoul) as well as vice ministerial-level strategic dialogue with Italy.
3. The Vice Minister and the Undersecretary noted with appreciation that the establishment of the “strategic partnership” during President Moon Jae-in’s visit to Italy in 2018 served as an opportunity for bilateral relations to take a leap forward, and agreed to further increase high-level exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
o The two sides agreed that the international community needs to make efforts to ensure universal and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. In addition, Vice Minister Choi asked Italy to positively consider joining the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) headquartered in Seoul.
o Furthermore, Vice Minister Choi welcomed Italy’s Presidency of the G20 for 2021, and requested the presence of Italy in the Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Summit. Vice Minister Choi also explained the ROK government’s commitment and efforts for complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Undersecretary Di Stefano expressed hope that during Italy’s Presidency of the G20, the two countries would continue close communication and cooperation.
4. Meanwhile, Vice Minister Choi asked for the Italian government’s special attention to the safety of Korean nationals living in or visiting the country, although the COVID 19 outbreak has significantly affected global travel. Undersecretary Di Stefano responded that the Italian government would pay attention to the safety of Korean nationals.