Yoon discusses energy security with British, Canadian prime ministers
President Yoon Suk-yeol and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid on Thursday, pledging to work together to reduce international dependence on Russian energy and develop renewable alternatives.
"The Prime Minister commended South Korea on their support for Ukraine," the British prime minister’s office said in a statement on Thursday. "The leaders agreed to work together to reduce global dependence on Russian hydrocarbons and develop green alternatives."
Recalling how Britain had also invited Korea as a guest nation to the G7 summit in Cornwall in June last year, the office stressed the growing list of global challenges that should be addressed at the multilateral fora, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The leaders agreed on the need to protect sovereignty and territorial integrity across the globe, and welcomed the complete consensus among NATO allies and guest countries on this point," it said.
The two nations adopted an agreement to increase cooperation on several fronts including defense, energy and trade.
“In order to participate more actively in the global efforts to achieve 2050 carbon neutrality, we commit to rapidly scale-up technologies and policies in this decade to achieve a just transition away from unabated coal,” read the agreement. “We will also actively cooperate to expand renewable energy and utilize carbon-free technologies to establish low-carbon power systems, and support other countries to do the same. A rapid decarbonization is essential to an energy-secure future for both countries.”
The agreement, the "UK-Republic of Korea bilateral framework for closer cooperation," also highlighted strengthened bilateral cooperation on civil nuclear energy development.
Yoon held several additional summit meetings with leaders on the margins of the NATO summit on Thursday, focusing on security issues and economic cooperation, including with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
In addition to discussing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the need for stronger international support for Ukraine, the two reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the strategic partnership between Canada and Korea, highlighting opportunities to work together to “promote security, democracy and the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region,” including cooperation on critical minerals, according to Trudeau’s office.
Yoon also thanked Trudeau in the meeting for Canada's participation in the Korean War.
Canada sent 26,791 men and women to fight in the 1950-53 Korean War. A total of 516 Canadian soldiers died during the war, and another 1,235 were injured or went missing.
In his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday, Yoon stressed that the North Korean nuclear issue is a serious threat to regional peace and stability and asked for continued interest and cooperation from NATO on his government's North Korea policy, according to Yoon’s office.
Stoltenberg was quoted by Yoon’s office to have cited the “historical significance” of Korea’s participation in the NATO summit, given its status as a major partner in the Indo-Pacific region, and stressed the importance of continued cooperation between Korea and NATO in the future.
Yoon was set to fly home on Friday, completing his five-day trip to Spain, his first overseas trip since taking office.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]