Germany to share reunification tips

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Germany to share reunification tips


German President Horst Kohler, left, and Korean President Lee Myung-bak, right, talk to each other while walking into a conference room to have a bilateral summit meeting yesterday at the Blue House. By Cho Mun-gyu

Germany agreed to share its experience of reunification with South Korea at the summit of the two countries’ presidents, the Blue House said yesterday.

German President Horst Kohler visited the presidential office of Lee Myung-bak yesterday for a summit which discussed ways to expand bilateral economic ties and strengthen cooperation on global issues.

According to the Blue House, President Lee said he appreciated Germany’s cooperation in forging the Korea-EU free trade agreement and sought further support to ratify the pact as soon as possible.

Last year, Seoul and the European Union struck a provisional free trade deal and the two sides are expected to sign a formal agreement in May.

Marking the 20th anniversary of German reunification this year, Lee and Kohler agreed that Germany’s experience of resolving economic gaps and social troubles of integration after reunification will be shared with South Korea. “The German president said Germany is ready to share its experience with South Korea through experts’ exchanges and working-level discussions,” said Park Sun-kyoo, Blue House spokesman.

Kohler also emphasized two things about reunification, Park said.

“Kohler said South Korea must never give up the possibility of reunification. And the South must remember the possibility that reunification may come earlier than expected,” Park said. “And he told Lee that it is necessary to prepare a plan in advance.”

“South Korea does not have the economic strength of the West Germany at the time of the German reunification, and North Korea’s economy is far more difficult, so we anticipate many problems,” Lee was quoted by Park as telling Kohler. “I think we need thorough preparation, and I appreciate your advice.”

Park said the two leaders did not talk about an inter-Korean summit.

The two leaders agreed to cooperate on the Group of 20 Summit to be held in Seoul as well as green growth strategies. The Blue House also said the leaders agreed to cooperate on other global issues.

Kohler will meet with German and Korean businessmen today as well as Sakong Il, chairman of the Presidential Committee for the G-20 Summit. Once serving as the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kohler is known for his expertise in international economics and global finance.

By Ser Myo-ja []

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