Briefing Room

2022 Dec. 2

1st state visit hosted by Yoon gov't due next week for Vietnamese leader

Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc from Dec. 4-6 will pay a state visit to Korea at the invitation of President Yoon Suk Yeol. The Office of the President on Dec. 1 said President Phuc's visit, the first to Korea by a foreign head of state since the launch of the Yoon administration, will commemorate the 30th anniversary of bilateral ties this year. On Dec. 5, both leaders will attend a welcoming ceremony and their official schedule such as a small-scale chat, their bilateral summit and a state banquet. The two presidents will discuss politics, national security, economy (trade, investment, finance, infrastructure and supply chains), development, education and interpersonal exchanges, and methods to boost cooperation in major regional and international issues. The presidential office said, "Vietnam is a core partner in our independent 'Indo-Pacific Strategy' and 'Korea-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Solidarity Initiative,'" adding, "President Phuc's state visit to Korea is expected to help develop bilateral relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership and serve as an important opportunity to raise cooperation with ASEAN through the Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative." President Phuc was named prime minister in 2016 and later president, the second-highest office in his country, in April last year. Vietnam's top-ranking government official is Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the country's Communist Party. On March 23, then President-elect Yoon exchanged greetings over the phone with President Phuc and thanked him for his congratulatory message over the Korean leader's election victory. A state visit, Korea's highest level of reception for a foreign leader, typically has an official welcoming ceremony such as an honor guard inspection, presidential banquet with performances, high-level greeting and seeing off the visiting head of state during the latter's arrival and departure, gun salute and cultural events. In principle, a Korean president is limited to hosting one such visit per country over a term.

2022 Nov. 28

President wants to put flag on Mars by 2045 under space economy plan

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Nov. 28 said, "We will plant Taegeukgi (the Korean national flag) on Mars by 2045, the centennial anniversary of national liberation." At a ceremony to announce the nation's roadmap for the future space economy at JW Marriott Hotel Seoul in the city's Seocho-gu District, he added, "Korea will develop a projectile engine to reach the moon within five years and land on the moon 10 years later in 2032 to begin mining resources there." The president announced plans to make the nation a global power in the space economy by 2045 through exploring the moon and Mars; rising as a global power in space technology; developing the domestic space industry; fostering talented personnel in the sector; fulfilling space security; and leading international cooperation. A national space administration for implementing the roadmap will be opened next year in Sacheon, Gyeongsangnam-do Province. The budget for development of this sector will be doubled over the next five years with cumulative investment of KRW 10 trillion scheduled by 2045. The president also decided to chair the National Space Committee, the highest policymaking body for Korea's space development. The Ministry of Science and ICT on the same day launched an internal task force for the agency's foundation and began preparations. "Through the space economy roadmap, we will go beyond our economic territory on Earth and expand to the moon and Mars," President Yoon said. "To take a giant leap as one of the world's top five space technology powers, we will develop a next-generation projectile more powerful than the Nuri rocket (KSLV-II) and gain technological independence in core components of launch vehicles and satellites." "In the future, a country with a vision for space can lead the world economy and resolve issues facing humanity," he added. "The dream of becoming a space power is not a distant future but an opportunity and hope for children and youth." Around 70 domestic companies in space development including Hanwha Aerospace, LIG Nex1 and KT SAT responded to the president's roadmap announcement with a joint statement on achieving a space economy.

2022 Nov. 24

President urges Korean companies to enter Kenya's energy, defense sectors

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Nov. 23 held a bilateral summit at his office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District with visiting Kenyan President William Ruto, with both leaders sharing opinions on strengthening bilateral exchanges and cooperation. President Yoon welcomed his Kenya counterpart as the first Kenyan head of state to visit Korea in 32 years and hailed President Ruto's choice of Korea for his first Asian trip after the latter's inauguration just two months ago. "Using this visit as an opportunity, we hope to develop bilateral cooperative relations in a variety of fields," President Yoon said. "We ask for your interest so that Korean companies can more actively take part in Kenya's energy and defense sectors," he added. "We will contribute to enhancing food security in Kenya through support for new rice varieties that our country developed." President Yoon also asked Kenya to support Busan's bid to host the 2030 World Expo and Korea's campaign to secure a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. "Our government will offer support so that Korean companies can actively cooperate and contribute to the development of Kenya, the gateway to the East African economy," he added. In response, President Ruto said Kenya, which is 93% dependent on renewable energy, is highly interested in adopting nuclear power, another form of clean energy, adding that he hopes to discuss this with Korea. He also said his country's capital of Nairobi wants to adopt Korea's intelligent bus and fare transfer systems, requesting Korea's interest and cooperation to develop Kenyan talent in medicine and science and importing more agricultural items from Kenya. Meanwhile, the two countries signed a basic agreement on raising the loan ceiling for Kenya to USD 1 billion under Korea's Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) from 2022-26. Launched in 1987, the EDCF is a government fund to support industrial development and economic stability in developing countries and raise economic cooperation with them. The deal stipulates a higher ceiling for EDCF loans for Kenya to USD 1 billion for 2022-26 from USD 300 million dollars for 2018-20. Through this accord, the Korean government expects to expand contribution diplomacy like responses to climate change and modernization of agriculture, while providing a new turning point in helping Korean companies advance into Kenya.

2022 Nov. 22

Kenyan president to visit Korea for 1st time in 32 years

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Nov. 23 will hold a bilateral summit with visiting Kenyan President William Ruto. Deputy presidential spokesperson Lee Jae-myoung on Nov. 21 told a briefing, "President Ruto will pay an official visit to Korea from Nov. 22-24 at the invitation of President Yoon Suk Yeol." "Bilateral economic cooperation, interpersonal exchanges and methods of developmental cooperation will be discussed at this summit." This will be the first visit to Korea by a Kenyan head of state in 32 years. In 1990, then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi visited Korea at the invitation of President Roh Tae-woo. President Moi was his nation's first leader to visit Korea since the two countries formed diplomatic ties. In September this year, a Korean delegation including former People Power Party Rep. Choung Byoung Gug, former lawmaker Kim Jae-kyung and presidential director for policy coordination and planning Jang Sung-min attended President Ruto's inauguration. The delegation delivered President Yoon's handwritten message on the latter's intent to boost the two countries' traditionally amicable and cooperative relations and asked President Ruto to visit Korea soon.

2022 Nov. 18

President Yoon, Spanish PM pledge stronger ties in future strategic sectors

President Yoon Suk Yeol on Nov. 18 held his first summit with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District, with both leaders pledging to strengthen cooperation in electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy. At a joint news conference after the summit, President Yoon said, "I sincerely welcome Prime Minister Sanchez's official visit to Korea and am delighted to host our first bilateral summit in Seoul," adding, "Both sides held in-depth discussions on reinforcing the bilateral 'strategic partnership.'" The two leaders met earlier in September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and the Group of 20 summit this week in Bali, Indonesia. On what measures will boost the strategic partnership, the president said, "We welcome the recent expansion of mutual investment cooperation between both sides in future strategic industries such as electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy like solar and wind power. We also agreed to continue necessary support at the government level." The two leaders agreed to continue needed support to expand human exchange in sectors like tourism and cultural cooperation and said the opening in Seoul next year of the Spanish cultural center Instituto Cervantes and a Spanish tourism office will contribute to raising mutual understanding and friendship between the people of both nations. Prime Minister Sanchez said, "Over the past few years, bilateral relations have drastically gotten stronger," adding, "A number of high-level visits were made and opportunities arose for the people of both countries to diplomatically approach each other." Both leaders started their day with a private chat before engaging in bilateral talks, followed by a joint news conference and official luncheon. On the afternoon of the day before, President Yoon held a bilateral summit with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on strengthening cooperation in a comprehensive range of sectors including politics, national security and economy. The presidential office said the two sides agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to the level of a "strategic partnership." They also pledged to raise cooperation in semiconductors, set up communication channels for the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Netherlands, and bolster collaboration in high-tech areas like smart agriculture and the space industry. During his talks with reporters during his commute to work, President Yoon on Nov. 18 said, "Because the most important thing is for both countries to have complementary structures in semiconductors, the basic content of the summit is building stronger cooperation and securing the active support of the Korean and Dutch governments for the complementary chip sector."