Korea and EU Get ConnectedPresident Kim Dae-jung held a summit talk with French President Jacques Chirac on March 7 (local time) to discuss the construction of a 'Europe-Asia Superhighway Information & Communication Network (Trans-Eurasian Network)' to connect Korea and Asian countries with EU nations. Kim has reportedly received basic approval for the project from Germany, which he will visit after France.
The superhighway information network system, envisaged as a way to activate e-commerce and e-trade, will initially connect the Korean Researchers Network (KOREN) with the European Researching Network (TEN-155) by next year at the earliest. By 2003, it will connect the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Korea, China and Japan, with the U.S. and EU countries.
Lee Ki-ho, Kim's chief economic adviser said, "President Kim will present a plan to construct this network business to the 10th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) which will be held in Seoul in October."
During the summit talk, Kim described the positive results of his engagement policy toward North Korea, and asked France to cooperate in the opening-up of North Korea. French President Chirac confirmed France's assistance in the Korean government's policy toward North Korea. He said he would consider the possibility of improving relations between France and North Korea, said Park Jun-young, a spokesperson from Chong Wa Dae (the Blue House).
The heads of the two countries also discussed ways to cooperate in promoting the construction of France's TGV railway in a third country. President Kim demanded the return of ancient books that France seized from Kyujanggak, the Royal Archives of the Chosun Kingdom, one of Korea's old dynasties.
Prior to this summit talk, in Milan, Italian businessmen decided to invest $9 million in Korean textile, fashion and machinery industries, after investment talks with Korean business executives who accompanied President Kim.
Kim began a three-day state visit to France on March 6, after finishing his five-day state tour of Rome and the Vatican.
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