The Republic of Korea (South) is in a very difficult position surrounded by superpowers such as the United States, China, Japan and Russia and, additionally, by a trigger-happy, belligerent North Korean dictatorial regime. In this situation, diplomacy is very important and it is even more so in the case of summit diplomacy.
There are pros and cons concerning the way President Park Geun-hye runs the government as well as the policies and administering of the affairs of the state.
However, there is one consensus among the people and even between the ruling and opposition political parties. It is her successful summit diplomacy. President Park Geun-hye continues to win very high marks in her dealing with the heads of government of all the countries she deals with, particularly China, the US and Japan.
President Park was given especially a high point for her proposal for a tripartite summit among Korea, China and Japan. Korea has been at odds with Japan while she has become closer with China, and this development has been regarded as something not very welcome from the stand point of the US whose consistent policy toward China has been containment.
After President Park returned to Korea on Nov. 17, 2014 winding up a nine-day tour of the Asian countries, she was given a warm welcome by both the ruling and opposition parties.
Chairman Kim Moo-sung of the ruling Saenuri Party said, “by signing a Free Trade Agreement with China and other countries of the region, the President expanded the ‘Economic Territory of Korea’ to 75.3% of the world.”
Chairman Moon Hee-sang of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, too, highly praised President Park’s summit diplomacy. Chairman Moon said, “There had been the three-party summit meetings in the past but not any more since May 2012 and I think that resumption of the tripartite summit is a clearly welcome result for the peace of the Northeast Asian region.”
Many of the centrist-oriented people in Korea, to speak nothing of the conservatives, have a very high opinion of President Park on her successful summit diplomacy.
They say that Korea is now in a much, much more difficult position compared with how it was in the early 1900s when Korea was sandwiched between Japan and China and also between Japan and Russia.
“Then Korea was one and there was no North Korea at the time, but now we have one more problem, the nuclear-armed North Korea that continues to pose a serious security threat to the country.”
Perhaps with the exception of pro-North Korean ultra-progressives, it appears that the majority of the Korean people fully support President Park on her summit diplomacy, especially the Korea- China-Japan talks.
Korea, China strike free trade pact
President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping struck the Korea-China free trade agreement (FTA) on Nov. 10 in Beijing. The two leaders held summit talks in the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital and announced the FTA afterward. Trade ministers from both countries held a signing ceremony for the free trade pact with the two leaders standing by.
President Park, currently visiting Beijing to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, said, “I am glad to announce the conclusion of the two-year long negotiations for the Korea-China FTA. I hope both countries can work out more details and swiftly carry out the remaining procedures to sign the deal and allow it to take effect.”
“Striking the Korea-China FTA will be good news for the world economy, which suffers from a sluggish recovery and low growth. I hope both countries can maintain such cooperation and further develop their strategic cooperation and partnership,” said President Park.
Quoting a Chinese idiom praising the closeness of an old friendship, "交情老更親," she said, “As I continue to hold meetings with President Xi, the Korea-China relationship has deepened.”
“China and Korea are good neighbors and good partners. I hope both countries can actively make efforts to achieve lasting development in terms of cooperation and exchanges across various sectors,” President Xi said.
Significance of striking Korea-China FTA
Korea and China officially declared the conclusion of free trade negotiations on Nov. 10 and agreed to fine-tune the details within the year. It took 30 months since the first round of negotiations began in May 2012.
Once the free trade deal is concluded, tariffs worth USD 8.7 billion imposed on Korea’s traded goods in China will be lifted immediately. Tariffs imposed on Korea’s traded goods in China worth a more significant USD 45.8 billion will be lifted 10 years later, after the free trade deal takes effect.
The free trade pact struck by the two countries is composed of 22 chapters covering all economic sectors, ranging from goods and services, investment, finance and communications. Both countries agreed to open their markets for more than 90 percent of the goods traded between them.
China agreed to eliminate tariffs on 91 percent of all imported goods, or 85 percent of its imports by value, and Korea agreed to lift tariffs on 92 percent of all its imported goods, or 91 percent of its imports by value, within the next 20 years. China included finance, communications and e-commerce in the free trade deal for the first time. Both countries will finalize the details within the year, officially signing the deal and making it effective next year.
Cheong Wa Dae said that the Korea-China FTA is Korea’s 13th free trade deal to date. The president`s office added that, thanks to the most recently deal, Korea’s range of business partners has now expanded to cover 73.2 percent of the world’s GDP, equivalent to the third largest world in the world.
Cheong Wa Dae added that, “The Korea-China FTA will offer an important turning point for Korea by changing its export structure, focusing now on consumer goods with high added-value, different from the existing one which focuses on exporting processed trade goods. When the Korea-China FTA is finalized, approximately USD 5.44 billion can be saved from tariffs annually. This is 5.8 times as large as that in the Korea-U.S. FTA and 3.9 times as large as that in the Korea-EU FTA."
Korea, New Zealand seal free trade agreement
Nov. 17, 2014: President Park Geun-hye and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced the completion of bilateral FTA talks in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 15, where both leaders were attending the G20 leaders` summit.
"The Korea-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) will provide a foundation to further expand and develop bilateral investment and trade, and it also includes various cooperation plans that will develop our bilateral relations. The Korea-New Zealand FTA will allow people of both nations to study or work in the other country, leading to a greater exchange of people, a key factor for the development of bilateral relations. Over 150 Korean youths living in rural areas of Korea will have the chance to study English in New Zealand every year, while 3,000 young Korean adults per year will be given an opportunity to work in New Zealand through its working holiday program. This will allow people from different backgrounds to share the benefits of the FTA.
With the signing of this FTA, which is beneficial to both nations, Korea and New Zealand will act as aides to each other to help their economies continue to grow in a volatile international economic environment," said President Park Geun-hye during a joint press conference.
"This FTA has been signed with one of New Zealand`s biggest trading partners. Korea is New Zealand`s sixth largest export destination for goods and services. Korea is New Zealand`s eighth largest source of imports. Two-way trade between the two countries was worth USD 4 billion in the year ending June 2014. This free trade agreement will put New Zealand exporters back on a level playing field with competitors from Korea`s other`s FTA partners, such as the U.S., Chile and the EU. I can say that what is not included in Korea`s FTAs already signed with the EU, the U.S., Australia and Canada is also not included in the Korea-New Zealand FTA. Thus, there will be no need for further adjustments in the long-term process of gradual liberalization. It is a win-win for both Korea and New Zealand," said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. A deal has now been reached five years and five months after the first negotiations started in June 2009. With this deal, Korea has now sealed FTAs with 31 out of 34 of the other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. Only Japan, Mexico and Israel remain.
After initiating the FTA, Korea and New Zealand intend to officially sign the deal early next year. It will go into effect as soon as the legislatures of the two nations ratify the deal.
New Zealand will lift tariffs on 92 percent of imports from Korea, in terms of their value, and it will further eliminate duties on 7,288 Korean products over the following seven years. Korea will immediately abolish all tariffs on 48.3 percent of the products it imports from New Zealand in terms of value, out of a total of 11,881 products it imports from New Zealand, and phase out tariffs on more than 96.4 percent of the items over the subsequent 15 years.
However, 194, or 12.9 percent, of the approximate 1,500 farms goods produced in New Zealand, including rice, honey, apples, pears, persimmons and squid, are excluded from the tariff cut.
Whole and skimmed powdered milk, one of New Zealand`s biggest export items, will remain within a tariff rate quota (TRQ) equal to 5 percent of a total consumption in Korea. The Korean government put in a safeguard clause for beef, for which tariffs will be phased out over 15 years, to prevent a drastic increase in imports. Under such "safeguard" rules, Korea can raise tariffs or stop a tariff reduction on certain products if there is a concern about damage to the related domestic industry.
In addition to a reduction of tariffs on goods, the two nations agreed to open the public procurement market and the services sectors, and allow more liberalized investment in each other. They also agreed to adopt an investor-state dispute settlement process and increase the number of working holiday visas from the current 1,800 to 3,000 per annum for Korean youths. The agreement also includes issuing 200 professional visas per year.
G20 praises Korea's 3-year economic innovation plan
Nov. 17, 2014 : An economic growth strategy based on the current administration`s three- year economic innovation plan, the country`s ongoing set of economic policy goals, has received the highest marks from G20 member countries.
The results are from a joint analysis conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Deputy Prime Minister Choi Kyung Hwan announced on Nov. 16. In the report, the IMF and OECD reviewed growth strategies from among the G20 economies.
The report predicted that Korea’s GDP would increase by 4.4 percent, or by KRW 60 trillion, to hit KRW 1,437 trillion by 2018 if the government`s growth strategy goes according to plan. Otherwise, it would reach only about KRW 1,378 trillion in that year without the plan.
The joint analysis on growth strategies was conducted at the request of the G20. As growth has become an important issue in the world economy to overcome the global financial crisis, the G20 asked its member countries to submit structural reform plans in four sectors -- investment, trade, employment and competition -- in order to raise the GDP of all G20 countries by more than 2 percent by 2018. Each of the G20 countries submitted their growth strategy drafts in early May this year, and made their final version this past October after going through a cross-evaluation process between member countries and an interim evaluation by both the IMF and the OECD.
In the G20 Leaders’ Communique, leaders of the participating countries agreed to add the following phrase, “Our actions to boost growth and create quality jobs are set out in the Brisbane Action Plan and in our comprehensive growth strategies,” while vowing to carry out the comprehensive strategies without delay.
They further agreed to set up plans for a concrete implementation review and evaluation for the implementation of the growth strategies. In this regard, they agreed to monitor and hold each other to account for implementing the commitments and to verify actual progress toward the growth goals. To do so, they will use analysis by international organizations, evaluate GDP-boosting policies, review and find measures to minimize adverse ripple effects and pursue measures to strengthen cooperation among G20 finance, trade and employment ministers.
President meets Saudi Arabian Crown Prince
Nov. 17, 2014: President Park Geun-hye held a summit with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on the sidelines of the G-20 summit at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Australia on Nov. 16.
During the talks, the two leaders shared their opinions on how to develop a strategic and future-oriented cooperative relationship between Korea and Saudi Arabia.
President Park emphasized that Korea could become the best partner for Saudi Arabia in transforming its economy from an oil-based one to a knowledge-based one, as part of efforts to prepare for a post-oil future.
She continued to say that, “I hope that the two countries will further expand mutual cooperation beyond just energy and construction and across a wider range of sectors, including health care, defense, finance, renewable energies such as nuclear power, ICT and human resource development.
In response, the Saudi Arabian prince said that his country has worked hard to achieve peace across the Middle East and that it has also endeavored to solidify the foundation of its economy, not letting it rely too much on oil.
President Park also said that her state visit to the country that had been inevitably delayed due to domestic affairs, would come soon, possibly as early as next year. During the upcoming visit, more measures to boost far-reaching, future-oriented cooperation between the two countries would be discussed, the president said.
The prince replied that he would welcome her visit no matter when it happens. He then stressed that Korea and his country have established solid ties, ties so strong that neither side even needs to use the word “partnership.”
He also mentioned that the Saudi Arabian people are well-aware of the diligent spirit of Koreans, people who have helped Saudi Arabia build infrastructure ever since the 1970s.
Meanwhile, President Park noted how Saudi Arabia has played a crucial role in stabilizing affairs across the Middle East, a region that has gone through a radical phase of political transition. In addition, she said that Korea, too, continues to make more efforts to deal with North Korean nuclear issues and hoped that the two countries continue to cooperate on world peace.
In response, the prince pointed out that there are many issues going on worldwide, many of which are focused on the Middle East in particular. His country has worked to bring peace across the region and the two countries should keep working together to deal with issues prevailing across the region, as well as the North Korean nuclear program.
President Park stresses regulation reform, innovation
Nov. 17, 2014: President Park Geun-hye attended the two-day G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov. 15 and 16. While there, she emphasized regulatory reform in her speech on Nov. 15, part of her administration`s strategic efforts to create more jobs. During the Retreat Session, her first official scheduled event in Australia, she shared the nation`s experiences and spoke about the efforts which the Korean government has put forth regarding regulatory reform. Regulatory reform is one of the key projects of her administration`s economic three-year plan.
President Park first introduced three steps needed to achieve reform. She said that any new plan should win the favor of the people and be carried out with continuous communication with them before it is settled on and, finally, realized.
She said that Korea plans to reduce 10 percent of its existing regulations that are not directly related to the lives and safety of the people, and then a further 20 percent by 2017. She also explained that Korea has adopted a so-called "guillotine system" which can deal with core and critical regulations in a top-down manner en bloc, as otherwise it would require too much time and too many steps.
She also introduced a "cost in, cost out" system that has been established to manage new regulations and to protect regulations from being revived again and again. The president pointed out that there are many countries vulnerable to regulatory reforms, especially in their service industries, and suggested that relevant joint studies be carried out at international organizations such as the OECD.
Proposal for developing the creative industries, a new growth engine of the economy
On the same day, Park raised awareness of the importance of economic development through global trade during the official banquet. She suggested the adoption of a "creative industry" for the global economy in need of new growth engines. She also emphasized the need for a discussion about such an agenda for developing nations.
President Park mentioned that Korea`s smartphones are products, "made in the world," not only, "made in Korea." She explained that many nations are involved in the global value chain (GVC) and in the creation of added value.
She also emphasized the role that could be played by G20 nations in encouraging developing nations to participate in the GVC. She emphasized that it would not only bring development to those economies but it might grow into a breakthrough for the global economy due to new sources of demand. Along with this, she emphasized the importance of the balanced prosperity of developed and developing nations through an expansion of global trade.
The president introduced the concept of an "innovative economy" that can be achieved when the creative industries become a new engine powering the economy, overcoming low growth rates. She stressed that creative ideas can create new markets and jobs, and that science, technology, information and communications technologies and industry can all be incorporated together to create new value. Also, she mentioned that Korea is working on building a "creative economy belt" to boost cooperation between large and medium corporations, start-up ventures and universities, developing the merits of each organization. As an example, she explained the relationship between the city of Daegu and the Samsung conglomerate and between the cities of Daejeon and Sejong City and the SK conglomerate as well as Creative Economy Innovation Centers throughout major cities.
The president continued to emphasize the importance of peer-learning between member countries when it comes to the creative industries. She said that sharing each other`s experiences and learning lessons from each other would contribute to the revival of the global economy.
She also noted that Korea used to be a very poor nation about 50 years ago, but that it has achieved quick development through the Saemaul Undong project, a series of agricultural development policies in the 1970s and 1980s. Park suggested that next year other heads of state deal with agendas related to development for the balanced development of both G20 and developing nations.
Discussion on the resilience of the global economy
During Session Two of the G20 Summit on Nov. 16, President Park discussed with other heads of state ways to increase the resilience of the global economy. She pointed out that a number of developed economies recently came up with quite different fiscal policies, which led to increased variability in the international money market. She emphasized that such unbalanced currency exchange rates with the major currencies can be a big burden on some emerging nations.
She said that economic policies established for the benefit of certain countries can have a negative spillover effect, prompting backlashes and giving a negative impression back in the developed economies.
In that sense, Park emphasized that the fiscal policy of each nation should be carefully explained and adjusted as agreed upon at last year`s summit, and that the G20 should play a critical role in such policy coordination.
In addition, President Park stressed the need for financial safety nets in case of any possible financial instability. As part of these efforts, she first urged for the prompt implementation of the IMF Quota and Governance Reform program agreed upon at the Seoul G20 Summit in 2010. Second, she stressed the need to strengthen the role of the Regional Financial Arrangement (RFA), as well as close cooperation between the IMF and the RFA.
Discussions on effective measures on climate change
During Session Three, President Park stressed the importance of funding the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Korea`s efforts in the revival of new industrial energies, urging for the participation of other G20 groups.
Park emphasized that climate change is a critical issue that can be a threat to the survival and safety of people everywhere, and that it requires cooperation and action of the international community for there to be any effective countermeasures.
She also explained that by 2020 Korea has pledged to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 30 percent, compared to Business-As-Usual (BAU), and that it will implement an Emissions Trading Scheme by 2015.
Moreover, President Park stressed that the participation of developing nations is essential for the effective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and that for that to happen, the role of the GCF and its financing is an important issue.
She emphasized that Korea has vowed to support the GCF, planning to give USD 100 million at most, as agreed at the U.N. Climate Summit held last September. She urged all G20 countries to participate in the GCF financing summit that is scheduled to take place on Nov. 19 and 20 in Berlin.
President emphasizes stronger EAS cooperation
Nov. 14, 2014: President Park Geun-hye shared opinions with 17 other leaders about the joint response to the Ebola epidemic, terrorism and other global and regional issues at the 9th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on Nov. 13, proposing a future direction for Korea-EAS cooperation.
Based on the progress the organization has made so far, President Park expressed her hope that the EAS could develop a consultative structure which could respond to new challenges in a more effective and active manner. She proposed that the EAS deepen cooperation in six areas -- the environment and energy, finance, healthcare, education, disaster management and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- and take an interest in and actively respond to global issues.
Saying that, “Asia is the place in the world where most natural disasters take place,” the president emphasized that disaster management is one of the most important issues. She welcomed the adoption of an EAS statement on prompt responses to disasters aimed at minimizing damage through cooperation among neighbor countries.
Park also welcomed the adoption of an EAS declaration on eliminating the illegal trade in wildlife. She also explained Seoul’s plan to create a world peace park in the demilitarized zone where wildlife of the Korean Peninsula is well preserved, allowing both Koreas to create a path toward life and peace through the ecosystem.
In regard to the Ebola epidemic, President Park said, “The outbreak of the Ebola virus threatens the whole international community, not just West Africa.” She expressed her support in the EAS joint statement for strengthening regional cooperation on the joint response to the deadly virus. In order to support the international response to the Ebola epidemic, the president also said that the Korean government has decided to dispatch medical experts to the affected region that very day.
Mentioning the violent extremism of ISIL, President Park said the international community should jointly respond to such terrorism. She added that Korea actively participated in the U.N. Security Council this past September as a non-permanent member and that it supports and will fully implement U.N. Resolution No. 2178 about threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.
Park said that the need to secure marine security is essential for the peace and prosperity of East Asia, as the region is connected by the sea. She urged that securing the safety of navigation routes, eliminating pirates and regional cooperation on marine rescue are all crucial.
At the EAS, participating leaders adopted a declaration on eliminating the illegal trade of wildlife, issued a statement on prompt responses to disasters, encouraged regional cooperation on the response to the Ebola epidemic and released a joint statement condemning the violence and brutality of ISIL.
Korean, Thai leaders discuss cooperation
Nov. 14, 2014: President Park Geun-hye and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha held a summit and talked about bilateral cooperation on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on Nov. 13.
"Thailand dispatched troops during the Korean War and has been a close ally and strategic partner," said President Park. "After establishing diplomatic relations, the two nations have continuously developed amiable bilateral relations across many fields."
"Ever since Thailand took part in the Korean War, countrymen of the two nations have kept strong ties," said Prime Minister Prayut.
In addition to water management, Prime Minister Prayut hoped that Korean companies would be able to participate in various infrastructure projects in Thailand, such as freeways and railroads. President Park responded that she would deliver information about Thailand`s infrastructure projects to Korean companies and encourage them to participate in the projects.
"Thailand is a foothold for Korean companies` investment in ASEAN," said President Park, asking Prime Minister Prayut to take an interest in Korean businesses that operate in Thailand so that their investments in the country could increase.
"Thailand is trying to improve its foreign investment regulations," said Prayut. "Very soon, we will be able to provide a better investment environment."
"Thailand has been strengthening import regulations, including anti-dumping rules against steel products," said Park. "I hope that Thailand takes only objective, fair and necessary action so that trade and investment does not decrease."
"I will do what is necessary to solve import regulations on steel products," said Prayut.
The leaders also exchanged opinions on North Korean issues and agreed to cooperate to solve problems regarding Pyongyang`s nuclear weapons ambitions.
"The ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit to be held in Busan in December is meaningful to further solidify Korea-ASEAN relations in the future," said President Park, inviting Prime Minister Prayut to attend the summit.
Prime Minister Prayut thanked her for the invitation and said he would attend the meeting.
"As part of the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit, Korea is trying to establish a Southeast Asian cultural center in Korea," said President Park, hoping that it would boost bilateral cultural exchanges. Prime Minister Prayut welcomed the idea.
Korean, Indian leaders discuss deeper cooperation
Nov. 13, 2014: President Park Geun-hye held summit talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 12 in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to discuss measures to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two nations and to improve bilateral economic cooperation.
President Park said that she is well aware of Prime Minister Modi’s aggressive policy since his inauguration in May this year to attract foreign investment into India to improve economic development. Mentioning large-scale industrial infrastructure projects, the president said that she hopes India can further develop its economy, backed by his leadership.
Prime Minister Modi responded that he has been interested in Korea’s economic development since he served as chief minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014. The Indian leader hoped that the Korea-Indian relationship will develop further in the future.
President Park asked the Indian prime minister to pay a state visit to Korea next year, and Modi expressed his gratitude for her invitation.
Park said the Agreement on the Protection of Classified Military Information, which Korea and India signed during her India state visit this past January, laid the foundation for cooperation on national defense and in the defense sectors of the two countries. She called for the Indian government to take an interest in and to cooperate on the extended participation of Korean enterprises in the Indian defense industry. President Park hoped that the ongoing construction of an industrial complex for Korean firms in Rajasthan can finish soon so that more Korean firms could participate in Prime Minister Modi’s “Made in India” campaign, which focuses on improving the corporate environment and on inducing more foreign investment.
President Park asked the Indian leader to take an interest in Korean companies` participation in large-scale construction projects, such as railroads, the Ganges River purification project and the construction of smartcities. In response, Prime Minister Modi welcomed Korean firms’ investment.
Park proposed holding minister-level joint negotiations to improve the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the two countries. She also called for the Indian leader to take an interest in the revision of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. In regard to POSCO’s large steel project in Odisha, the president asked the Indian prime minister to take an interest in solving procedural matters, including mine exploration rights.
Prime Minister Modi agreed with the revision of the Korea-India CEPA and to host a joint negotiation committee. He also expressed his strong support for the POSCO project, vowing to make an effort to solve the associated issues.
President Park told the Indian leader that Korea’s advanced technology in coal and gas technology, combined with India’s vast amount of coal, which ranks fifth in the world in terms of coal deposits, will create great synergies. She proposed joint cooperation on the coal and gas sector. She also proposed cooperation on the solar and nuclear energy sectors by holding joint committee meetings on a regular basis. Modi agreed with her and said he will take cooperation measures, while mentioning the need to cooperate on related sectors and on new technologies, such as clean energy.
In regard to issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula, President Park asked her Indian counterpart for India’s continuous support and cooperation on the denuclearization of North Korea and for Seoul’s policy toward a peaceful reunification. The Indian leader expressed his active support for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, the resumption of six-party talks and for U.N. resolutions on issues involving the Korean Peninsula and the North Korean nuclear weapons program
Korean, US, Australian leaders discuss cooperation
Nov. 12, 2014: President Park Geun-hye held summit talks with U.S. President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing on Nov. 11. They discussed measures to boost cooperation and issues involving the Korean Peninsula.
Presidents Park and Obama agreed that the united stance of the international community is very crucial when dealing with the North Korean nuclear weapons threat. Both leaders agreed to make stronger joint efforts toward the goal of a denuclearized North Korea.
The two presidents exchanged opinions on the need for trilateral cooperation among Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo, and agreed to closely cooperate on President Park’s vision for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
In regard to the Ebola epidemic, the two leaders shared a common view on the danger of the virus. Park highly valued Obama’s leadership of the joint response to the epidemic. Obama expressed his gratitude for Korea’s support for the international community’s responses to the disease.
On the same day, President Park held summit talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss cooperation across a wide range of sectors, including the economy and politics.
President Park told her Australian counterpart that, "I am glad that both Korea and Australia have been strengthening strategic communication in a comprehensive and multi-layered manner by holding meetings about foreign affairs, defense, and strategic dialogue." She valued the bilateral relationship, saying that, "The two countries cooperate not only at a bilateral relations level, but also at the multilateral level in the international community, such as at the U.N., and cooperate on the peace and prosperity of the international community."
“The Korea-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) will create a new systemic framework between the two countries, extend the volume of bilateral trade and boost the competitiveness of firms in both countries as well,” President Park added.
Prime Minister Abbott said, “I am glad that both countries agreed to hold regular meetings between foreign ministers and defense ministers, and that they have signed the Korea-Australia FTA.” He further asked President Park to pay an official visit to Australia next year.