Denmark becomes Korean ally on green growth

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Denmark becomes Korean ally on green growth


Korean president Lee Myung-bak and Danish queen Margrethe II trade toasts during a state banquet at Fredensborg Palace, north of Copenhagen, Wednesday. [Joint Press Corps]

COPENHAGEN - Korea and Denmark forged an unprecedented alliance yesterday, pledging to bring together their strengths in environment-friendly technologies to open up new markets for green products and services, which is seen as one of the most promising industries of the future.

Korean President Lee Myung-bak hailed the launch of the “Green Growth Alliance,” saying it will contribute not only to expanding the two countries’ sustainable-growth sectors but also to getting green growth to take root as a “global paradigm.”

Calling Denmark a “first mover” and Korea a “fast mover” in green technologies, Lee said in a speech that a union between the two will create a green growth movement that will lead the world economy in a new direction.

In the first joint step under the alliance, the governments and leading companies of the two sides signed a total of nine memorandums of understanding, vowing to work closely in such areas as renewable energy, smart-grid electricity, hydrogen vehicles, wind power and fuel cells.

It is the first time Korea has forged an alliance with a foreign nation, with the exception of the alliance with the United States that has served as a backbone of the country’s security. Officials said it will help broaden Korea’s diplomatic horizons as well.

For Denmark, too, it is the country’s first alliance with a foreign nation.

Officials said the alliance will be a win-win partnership that combines Denmark’s leading green growth technologies with Korea’s fast-growing, environment-friendly technologies and powerful high-tech manufacturing.

Denmark has aggressively pushed for environment-friendly technologies, with an ambitious vision known as “Energy Strategy 2050,” to end its reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. The country has the No. 1 market share in the world’s wind power market.

Lee said Denmark is a model for green growth because it doubled its economy without increasing energy consumption.

Under Lee, Korea has also actively pursued green growth technologies, seeing them as an engine for economic growth. The country’s renewable energy sector grew six times in just three years, making substantial progress in such areas as electric vehicles and energy-efficient lighting.

Green growth has been one of Lee’s trademark policies. It calls for lessening Korea’s dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the development of substitute energy sources, such as solar and wind power.

Lee believes the strategy will provide Korea with a fresh growth engine and help the country - one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters - reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

Last year, Korea established the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in Seoul to study green growth strategies and provide know-how to developing nations.

On Wednesday, the institute’s first overseas office opened in Copenhagen.

Denmark is part of Lee’s European trip that already took him to Berlin and Frankfurt in Germany. Lee will head to France Thursday night for the last leg of the weeklong trip.

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