Deputy Premier of Slovakia meets
with Korean Foreign Minister
On Nov. 25, 2013, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak of the Slovak Republic met with Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se during the former’s visit to the Republic of Korea. In the meeting, the two sides discussed key ROK-Slovakia issues in such sectors as political affairs, economy, trade, science, technology, culture and education as well as a number of other agenda items, including ROK-Visegrad cooperation, cooperation on the international stage, and the situations on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of Northeast Asia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Lajcak was on an official visit to the ROK from November 24 through 26 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the ROK-Slovakia diplomatic relations. His visit marked the first of its kind by a Slovakian Foreign Minister in 12 years.
After the meeting, the two Ministers signed an ROK-Slovakia agreement on scientific and technological cooperation, laying an institutional foundation for scientific and technology activities and joint studies between the two countries, as well as a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between their Foreign Ministries. The agreements are expected to help boost cooperation in relevant fields and further consolidate the existing channel of policy consultations between the two Foreign Ministries.
Minister Yun took note of the Visegrad group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) as a key European investment and trade partner for Korean companies and gateway for the ROK’s northern diplomacy, adding that the ROK government plans to hold high-level exchanges with the four countries in a bid to strengthen cooperation with them. He proposed holding a ROK-Visegrad group Foreign Ministers’ meeting in 2014, the 25th year since the ROK put into full gear its northern diplomacy with the region, asking for Slovakia’s active support in this regard.
The Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister welcomed the proposal. He added that as Slovakia will serve as the chair country of Visegrad in the second half of the year 2014, it will be able to extend utmost support if the proposed meeting takes place within that timeframe.
Deputy Prime Minister Lajcak commended the contribution of 100-odd Korean companies in Slovakia to the country’s economy and voiced hope for their continued investment in the country.
In response, Minister Yun extended his appreciation to the Slovakian government for its efforts to create a favorable environment for investment and other business operations, which, in turn, has helped enhance ROK-Slovakia economic ties. He asked for further attention to and support for Korean companies operating in Slovakia, including creating a favorable environment for business operations, work and residence.
Minister Yun elaborated on “creative economy,” one of the ROK government’s policy priorities. He expressed his hope that the ROK-Slovakia substantive cooperation that has centered on economy and trade of manufactured goods will expand into such fields as science, technology, culture and education.
Likewise, Deputy Prime Minister Lajcak, noting that the Slovakian government has a keen interest in working with the ROK in R&D and innovations, voiced his hope for vibrant bilateral cooperation in the fields.
Minister Yun commended the contribution of Slovakia -- the successor of Czechoslovakia -- as a member of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The Minister, extending his appreciation for the country’s continued support for the ROK’s position on the North Korean nuclear issue, asked for its support for the ROK’s Trust-building Process on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative. In response, Deputy Prime Minister Lajcak expressed a strong willingness to extend support in that regard.
Deputy Prime Minister Lajcak’s official visit and meeting with Minister Yun served as an opportunity to further enhance close economic ties between the two countries and to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation to include more diverse areas, including high-level exchanges. They are also seen to have built a significant foundation for putting in full swing cooperation between the ROK and the Visegrad group.