Park assures int’l business owners amid North threats

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Park assures int’l business owners amid North threats

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President Park Geun-hye, third from left, meets with executives of the Korean branch offices of multinational business companies amid the growing war threats from North Korea at a luncheon yesterday in the Blue House to assure them of the country’s stability. [NEWSIS]

President Park Geun-hye yesterday spoke with top executives of multinational business giants in Korea to assure them of the country’s stability amid the growing war threats from North Korea. A group of major foreign investors met with Park at the Blue House over a luncheon.

Kim Jang-soo, chief of national security, joined the meeting, which came two days after Pyongyang urged foreigners in South Korea to evacuate.

Seven representatives from the U.S., EU, Japanese, German, Canadian and French chambers of commerce attended the luncheon, along with 12 executives from the Korean branch offices of global companies including Google, Citibank, Siemens and Bank of China.

“Some may worry about the North’s tension-escalating moves,” Park said. “But based on our strong military deterrence power, we are cooperating closely with the United States, China and other members of the international community to thoroughly prepare for a contingency, and the South Korean people understand the North’s intention well and react calmly.

“I can assure you that we will create a stable environment in which you can make investments and actively operate your companies,” Park said.

According to Yoon Chang-jung, presidential spokesman, the guests expressed appreciation for the Park government’s efforts to communicate with the foreign investors.

According to Yoon, Pat Gaines, president of Boeing Korea and the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, told Park that he understands the heightened political and military tensions between the two Koreas. Gaines, however, said he has faith in Seoul’s efforts to defend peace and prosperity by closely cooperating with its friends.

Lee Il-houng, senior resident representative for China of the International Monetary Fund, said the latest speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping is significant. Although he did not pinpoint the North, Xi said it is undesirable for a country to create chaos in a region for its own benefit, and Lee said that was a remark referring to North Korea, Yoon said. “The Chinese government thinks the current tensions won’t evolve into a military confrontation,” Lee was quoted as saying by Yoon. “But Beijing thinks the tensions will remain for a long time.”

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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