Park embarks on a busy UN visit

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Park embarks on a busy UN visit

President Park Geun-hye’s trip to the United Nations this month will focus on stopping North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship, seeking support for Korean unification and promoting South Korea’s development model and the Saemaul Movement.

Park will leave for New York tomorrow to attend UN events, including the General Assembly and Sustainable Development Summit. During her four-day trip, Park will give at least eight speeches and meet with world leaders to push her diplomatic agenda concerning North Korea.

Park will give the main speech at one session of the development summit on Saturday and another address at the UN General Assembly on Monday, Ju Chul-ki, senior foreign affairs and security secretary to the president, said.

A message on North Korea is expected to be included in her speech to the General Assembly. Earlier this month, Pyongyang threatened to conduct a nuclear test, the fourth of its kind if it takes place. It also announced its intention to fire a long-range missile, possibly within the next few weeks to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the ruling Workers’ Party on Oct. 10.

Park is expected to seek the international community’s support to discourage the North from carrying out either of the tests and explain her government’s North Korea policy.

She is also expected to explain her initiative to bring about a peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula and discuss other security issues for Northeast Asia. In her meeting with senior secretaries on Monday, Park said the UN General Assembly will give her an opportunity to seek the international community’s understanding and support for Korean unification and regional issues.

Throughout her presidency, Park has said unification of the two Koreas would be a huge opportunity for the local economy to leapfrog to a whole new level. In her first presidential press conference in January 2014, she said reunification would be a “jackpot.”

Lately, Park has stressed that peaceful unification is also the most certain way to resolve the nuclear crisis. On her way back to Korea after a trip to China earlier this month, Park said she won China’s cooperation for peaceful unification and that the two governments will begin discussions on how to achieve it. The Blue House also said Park and Chinese President Xi Jinping had an in-depth discussion about unification during their summit in Beijing on Sept. 2 and China expressed its support.

Park’s UN diplomacy is ahead of a summit with Obama in Washington on Oct. 16. Park is also addressing world leaders shortly after Xi and Obama meet this week.

In her Monday speech to the General Assembly, Park will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, and praise its achievements in maintaining peace and stability and contributing to global prosperity and human rights. She will express Korea’s active support to resolve key issues of international society, Ju said.

Later in the day, Park will attend a UN peacekeeping summit jointly organized by Obama and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Korea will promise more active participation in UN peacekeeping missions at the meeting, Ju said.

During the UN events, Park will meet with Ban officially and unofficially several times, Ju said. Encounters with other world leaders, including Obama, Xi, as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, are also a possibility.

On Sunday, Park will host a dinner for foreign affairs and security experts and explain her government’s policies.

On Saturday morning, Park will attend the Sustainable Development Summit and give an address.

She will present a strategic plan to successfully implement the 2030 goals for sustainable development to be adopted at the summit.

Park will attend other events on the sidelines of the summit, including the high-level Saemaul Movement conference hosted by the Korean government, the UN Development Program and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Saemaul Movement, also known as the New Community Movement, was an initiative to modernize the rural economy of Korea. The late President Park Chung Hee, the father of Park, was behind the initiative launched in 1970.

Park will announce a global vision for the Saemaul Movement at the event.

She will also attend meetings on education and climate change.

On the sidelines of the UN events, Park will have bilateral summits with leaders of Pakistan and Denmark.

“Park will meet with the leaders of the two countries to discuss economic and development cooperation and climate change,” said An Chong-bum, senior presidential secretary for the economy.

Pakistan, with a population of 180 million, has large growth potential, and Denmark is an exemplary nation on climate change issues.

According to the Blue House, Pakistan is currently planning a large-scale power plant project and Denmark is expanding its infrastructure investment, including tunnels and traffic systems.

“Although the summits will be brief because they are taking place on the sidelines of a multilateral meeting, the leaders can discuss important issues, and we will do our best to bring fruitful economic outcomes,” An said.

According to An, presidential diplomacy has played a crucial role in sealing overseas deals. Since she took office, Park has worked to support Korea’s bids in 47 projects worth $130.5 billion, An said, and Korea won 23 deals, worth $67.5 billion, mainly in the Middle East and Central Asia.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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