Turkish leader affirms partnership with Seoul

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Turkish leader affirms partnership with Seoul


South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a summit meeting in his office at the Blue House on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

The presidents of South Korea and Turkey agreed on Wednesday to enhance cooperation in trade, education and technology.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the first Turkish leader to make a state visit to South Korea since the countries upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership in 2012. The countries established diplomatic ties in 1957.

“At the summit, the two leaders noted the strategic partnership between the two brother nations, which is historically and culturally special, will further strengthen and develop into a future-oriented relationship on the occasion of President Erdogan’s visit to South Korea,” the Blue House said in a press release.

Erdogan is the first foreign leader to visit South Korea since the historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday. The Turkish leader reaffirmed his country’s support for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishment of a permanent peace.

“President Erdogan congratulated President Moon for the successful 2018 South-North Korea summit and welcomed the adoption of the historic Panmunjom Declaration on peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula,” the leaders said in a joint press statement issued at the end of their bilateral summit in Seoul.

To this end, Moon and Erdogan agreed to boost their countries’ cooperation at international organizations, including the United Nations and Mikta, an informal partnership comprising Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia.

They agreed to further develop Mikta into a forum for the countries’ leaders. The five-nation forum is currently led by foreign ministers, according to the Blue House.

Moon and Erdogan also sought ways to expand the countries’ bilateral trade in sectors including energy and defense.

“The two leaders noted that the South Korea-Turkey free trade agreement has become an important foundation of mutually beneficial economic cooperation by ensuring balanced growth of trade between the two countries,” the joint statement said, “and agreed to quickly implement an agreement on the service industry and investment sector within the framework of the South Korea-Turkey free trade agreement.”

Shortly after their summit at the Blue House, Moon and Erdogan joined a ceremony for the signing of various agreements on cooperation in areas such as health and welfare.

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