South Korean President Moon Jae-in and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed Thursday to enhance their countries' cooperation on bilateral and global issues, including climate change and the North Korean nuclear standoff.
The agreement came in a bilateral summit held at Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.
"Noting President Steinmeier's visit following President Moon's official visit to Germany in July marked active exchange between the countries at the highest level, the two leaders agreed to strengthen the countries' actual cooperation in various areas, including the fourth industrial revolution, small and medium-sized enterprises, environmentally friendly energy and nuclear power plant dismantlement, to help create jobs and growth engines in South Korea and Germany," the presidential office said in a press release.
Moon expressed particular interest in Germany's development experience, based on its social market economy, noting the German system may be in line with his key economic policies, including income and innovation-led growth and fair competition.
The two leaders also expressed satisfaction over the countries' close economic ties, based on the South Korea-EU free trade agreement (FTA), while noting the FTA continues to demonstrate the superiority of free trade and open economies amid growing concerns over a spread of trade protectionism.
"Also, the leaders of the two countries agreed to work closely together within multilateral frameworks, such as the Group of 20 summit, to reject trade protectionism and create a global environment for open markets," Cheong Wa Dae said.
They also agreed to enhance their joint efforts to fight climate change, expressing serious concerns over an apparent increase in natural disasters throughout the world, it added.Moon and Steinmeier also discussed ways to peacefully end North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
The South Korean president expressed hope the recent resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas to discuss the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games will lead to the resumption of international talks to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
Steinmeier agreed the North's participation in the Olympics, as well as its agreement with the South to form a single unified women's hockey team, may represent the country's willingness to establish peace.
"However, I wish such willingness will not disappear simultaneously with the end of the Olympics," the German president said, urging North Korea to continue sending signals of its willingness to talk.
He also urged the rest of the world to regularly check for any such signal from North Korea, saying his country fully supports the ongoing international sanctions and pressure against the North but that the country subject to such punishment must be tested to see if it is willing to change its behavior. (Yonhap News)