Yoon Suk-yeol, first lady, have an eventful flight to Spain
Yoon and Kim disembarked hand-in-hand from the presidential jet at Madrid-Barajas Airport around 9:30 p.m. and were greeted by Javier Salido Ortiz, director general for North America, Eastern Europe, Asia and Pacific at the Spanish Foreign Ministry and Korean Ambassador to Spain Park Sang-hoon.
"Initially, the Spanish government was going to send a deputy chief of protocol," an official from the presidential office said, "but raised the level of the reception to the Asia-Pacific affairs director general."
During the 14-hour flight, Yoon made a surprise appearance to greet the presidential press corps on the jet, followed by his wife.
Yoon said he didn’t have any “particular mindset” for the first overseas trip he is taking as president, but admitted he didn’t get any rest during the flight because he was “reviewing documents” ahead of his first multilateral summit. He added he watched Premier League football as well.
He was soon joined by Kim, and it was the first time the first lady personally greeted presidential reporters. She did not make any other comments aside from a greeting.
His official activities kick off Tuesday afternoon with a summit with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Yoon was also scheduled to meet with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and attend with the first lady a gala dinner hosted by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia that evening.
A planned meeting with the Finnish president Tuesday was canceled due to a scheduling conflict.
On Wednesday, Yoon will meet with the leaders of the Netherlands, Poland and Denmark and take part in a trilateral summit with U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. The president and the first lady will also attend a dinner with Korean residents in Spain on Wednesday.
Yoon will meet with the leaders of Britain, France and the Czech Republic on Thursday and attend a luncheon with businesspeople in Spain.
Ahead of the summit, a presidential official said areas of interest in the bilateral talks include defense industry exports for Poland, semiconductor manufacturing cooperation with the Netherlands, renewable energy with Denmark and a nuclear plant deal with the Czech Republic.
Poland recently announced its intention to purchase 180 K2 tanks from Hyundai Rotem and 48 FA-50 light combat aircraft.
Korea is not a member of NATO but was invited as an Asia-Pacific partner with Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The 30 members of the NATO military alliance are expected to adopt a new strategic concept for the first time in a decade, to respond to security challenges involving Russia and China.
The last strategic concept was adopted at the Lisbon Summit in 2010.
BY SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]