1. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Sei-young had a video conference with Mr. Miguel Berger, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, on the afternoon of July 10 at the latter’s request. In the conference, the two sides discussed the relations between the Republic of Korea and the Federal Republic of Germany, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, cooperation on the international stage, and response to COVID-19.
2. Vice Minister Cho noted that the year 2020 is special in that Germany holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second half of the year, voiced hope that the EU would effectively overcome challenges including COVID-19 under the leadership of Germany, and suggested that the two countries work together to further enhance the ROK-EU relations during Germany’s presidency.
° The two sides took note of active high-level exchanges, including the ministerial meeting during the visit to Germany by Minister of Foreign Affairs Kang, Kyung-wha in 2020. Recognizing the need to resume face-to-face diplomatic activities as soon as the COVID-19 situation stabilizes, they agreed to continue stepping up non-face-to-face diplomacy.
3. Vice Minister Cho extended appreciation to the German government for its consistent support for and close collaboration on the ROK government’s efforts to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and asked for active cooperation of the German government for North Korea’s return to the dialogue table.
° State Secretary Berger reaffirmed the German government’s support for the Korean Peninsula peace process, saying that Germany will render assistance as necessary as the chair country of the Security Council Sanctions Committee on North Korea in 2019-2020 as well as a country that has experienced division and unification.
4. The two sides agreed to effectively overcome the COVID-19 crisis through close bilateral and multilateral cooperation. In addition, raising the need to safeguard multilateralism and liberalism and to respond to reverse globalization amid the current crisis, they drew a common understanding that vaccines and treatments should be used as international public goods.
° Vice Minister Cho stressed that, despite the COVID-19 crisis, it is necessary to allow Korean nationals’ entry into Germany for such essential purposes as economic activities and humanitarian reasons. State Secretary Berger, mentioning the need to restore people-to-people exchanges to the pre-COVID-19 level, suggested continuing consultations to that end.
° Meanwhile, Vice Minister Cho expressed regret over racist attacks being launched against Korean nationals in Germany after the spread of COVID-19, asking for special attention and support of the German government. State Secretary Berger responded that he deeply shares the ROK government’s concern, that active actions are taken with zero tolerance toward discriminations and hate crimes against particular ethnic groups, and that attention will be paid to ensure the safety of the Korean nationals in Germany.
5. Vice Minister Cho, recalling the candidacy of Minister for Trade Yoo Myung-hee in the election of the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), asked for the German government’s interest and support.
6. The first video conference between Vice Minister Cho and State Secretary Berger carries significance in that the two sides reviewed the progress in bilateral cooperation and discussed ways to seek a future-oriented development of the bilateral relations even amid the COVID-19 situation.
° The two sides agreed to
communicate closely through various means and channels, including video
conferences, in a bid to produce mutually beneficial achievements in bilateral cooperation
not only in economy and trade but also on multilateral and global stages.