President will visit Italy to see pope, attend ASEM

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President will visit Italy to see pope, attend ASEM

President Park Geun-hye will visit Italy from Oct. 14 to 17, where she will attend the 10th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan and then meet with the Italian president in Rome, the Blue House said yesterday.

The Korean president’s visit to Italy comes five years since Park’s predecessor Lee Myung-bak visited La Maddalena for the G-8 summit.

“President Park attending the coming ASEM, the only multilateral channel available between Asia and Europe, is expected to provide momentum for Korea to step up its diplomacy with Europe and Asia,” the presidential office said in a release.

Park will deliver the Korean government’s vision for the “connectivity between the two continents,” presidential spokesman Min Kyung-wook noted in a briefing.

Launched in March 1994 in Bangkok, the biennial ASEM currently has 49 member countries - 20 from Asia and 29 from Europe, including 27 members of the European Union - and partners with the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat. It is the biggest regional cooperative body linking Asia and Europe.

The meeting, scheduled Oct. 16 to 17, will cover the theme, “Responsible Partnership for Sustainable Growth and Security.”

After three days in Milan, the president will fly to Rome and visit Pope Francis in the Vatican to reciprocate his visit to Korea in August. This will be the second meeting between the two in just two months.

It is followed by a summit between Park and her Italian counterpart, Giorgio Napolitano.

The two heads of state are expected to discuss measures for cultural, scientific and technological exchange, boosting trade, investment and energy cooperation, said Min.


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