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Briefing Room

President Yoon pledges 'responsible, contributory diplomacy' to Elders


President Yoon Suk Yeol on May 30 hosts a meeting with members of the Elders, an international group of former world leaders, at the Office of the President in Seoul.


President Yoon Suk Yeol on May 30 pledged to the Elders, an international non-governmental organization (NGO) of senior public figures, to expand Korea's contributory diplomacy in the international community.


At an afternoon meeting with representatives from the NGO at the Office of the President in Seoul, he discussed key global issues, presidential spokesperson Lee Do Woon said in a news release.


Launched in July 2007 by former South African President Nelson Mandela to boost world peace and human rights, the group comprises 11 global figures with former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon serving as deputy chair.


President Yoon said the Elders has demonstrated leadership while dedicating itself to the peace and prosperity of the international community.


Citing North Korea's recent provocations and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Elders members expressed concern over increasing deviation from the international order based on international laws and norms and stressed the need for the free world to unite.


Asia's role is important for reaching carbon neutrality goals, they added, asking Seoul to lead the way in sharing and transferring its green technology for the Global South, which refers to developing economies in the low latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere or those in the Southern Hemisphere.


The members urged the international community to speak with one voice in responding to the North's nuclear threat and raising issue with the country's human rights issues.


"Peace without freedom is unsustainable under any circumstance," President Yoon said. "A country that respects the freedom of its people can respect the freedom of other countries."


"Each country must pursue internationalism, not nationalism, as well as a foreign policy that conforms to standards of common sense that are neither relative nor subjective."


"The Republic of Korea will further expand its diplomacy of responsibility and contribution based on the universal values of freedom and rule of law and international norms," he added.


Attending the meeting were Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, who chairs the group; Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General; Graca Machel, first Education Minister of Mozambique; Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway; Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico; Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile; Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia; Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President of Mongolia; and Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.