President Yoon Suk-yeol will meet the leaders of the United States and Japan on June 29 during the summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Madrid, Spain. This was disclosed by the Presidential Office of the Republic of Korea on June 26.
According to the press office of the President, President Yoon from June 29-30 will attend the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Madrid, Spain, the first Korean head of state to do so.
National Security Office Director Kim Sung-han on June 22 held an afternoon briefing at the Presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District to announce the itinerary of President Yoon's first visit abroad since the President assumed office.
Director Kim told the briefing that President Yoon's attendance at the NATO summit has the following three meanings: "strengthening the solidarity of values based on liberal democracy," "establishing a comprehensive foundation for national security" and "seeking effective responses to emerging national security issues."
"The 30 NATO member states are our traditional allies who share universal values and norms such as liberal democracy, rule of law and human rights," the director added. "Amid the unpredictable international situation, we will build a comprehensive security network along our NATO allies."
To support this goal, he said the government will set up a representative bureau in Brussels, Belgium, where NATO is headquartered, and expand information sharing and provide a platform to strengthen Korea's network with its NATO allies.
On the occasion of the NATO summit, President Yoon will also hold bilateral talks with about 10 countries on nuclear power, semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, renewable energy and the defense industry. Yonhap News and other Korean media quoted presidential staff as saying Seoul is also planning a trilateral summit with President Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
However, there are little possibilities of a bilateral summit between Yoon and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, according to the Korean official.
Earlier this week, the Republic of Korea side indicated that it planned to set up a delegation to NATO in Brussels as the ROK wants to strengthen its partnership with the organization and play a bigger role on the global stage.
Yoon’s meeting with the U.S. and Japanese leaders in Madrid will make him the first ROK President to attend a NATO summit meeting because the ROK, along with Japan, Australia and New Zealand, has been invited as the NATO’s Asia-Pacific partners.
Korea is not a member of the NATO, but has been invited as a partner nation, along with Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Yoon will be the first Korean President to attend a NATO summit.
On the sidelines, Yoon plans to hold a three-way summit on June 29 with President Joe Biden of the United States and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, the first such meeting in four years and nine months since the last meeting was held in September 2017.
Other events Yoon plans to attend in Madrid include bilateral summits with the leaders of Finland, NATO, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Britain; a gala dinner hosted by Spanish King Felipe and Queen Letizia on Tuesday; a dinner with South Korean residents in Spain on Wednesday; and a lunch meeting with Spanish businesspeople on Thursday.
First lady Kim Keon-hee is scheduled to travel together with President Yoon.
Yoon's attendance at the NATO summit, according to Yonhap reports, will achieve three purposes, including strengthening the "value alliance" based on a liberal democracy with the 30 NATO member states and partner nations, according to National Security Adviser Kim Sung-han.
Yoon will also build the foundation for a "comprehensive security network" with NATO states and explore ways to effectively respond to emerging security threats, such as cyber and aerospace threats, and climate change, Kim told reporters last week.