South Korean and German leaders agree to cooperate on supply chains, North Korea
Seoul, South Korea — The leaders of South Korea and Germany pledged on Sunday to strengthen cooperation in building stable industrial supply chains and addressing challenges posed by nuclear-armed North Korea when they meet. in Seoul after flying in from Group of Seven meetings in Japan.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, highlighted the similarities between the two major manufacturing nations that depend on foreign trade and said that a stronger partnership in the supply chain would help them cope with “the intensifying global economy”. instability and geopolitical conflicts.
He said the countries in particular will work to advance business relations in high-tech industries and clean energy, including semiconductors and hydrogen projects, and pursue new opportunities in defense.
Yoon said he also discussed the growing threat posed by North Korea, which has tested around 100 missiles since the start of 2022 while accelerating its efforts to expand its nuclear arsenal. He said Scholz had agreed to help maintain a “consistent message to the international community that North Korea has nothing to gain from its unlawful provocations” and to coordinate diplomatic efforts to pressure Pyongyang so that he abandons his nuclear ambitions.
“Germany, which was reunified 33 years ago, is a country that understands and understands the issues surrounding the Korean Peninsula,” Yoon said. “We will continue to work closely together (as part of broader efforts) to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea.”
Prior to his meeting with Yoon, Scholz traveled to the southern side of the heavily armed border separating the two Koreas and called on the North to cease testing activities. He repeated a similar message at the press conference, expressing solidarity with Seoul and calling for a more effective international response against North Korea’s missile development that threatens South Korea and Japan.
Yoon and Scholz were among leaders who took part in the G7 talks in Hiroshima, which were highlighted by a personal appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as talks focused on tackling Russia’s protracted invasion of his country. .
Tensions on the Korean peninsula have also risen since the war in Ukraine, which North Korea has used as a distraction to step up its weapons testing. Moscow and Beijing have blocked US-led efforts at the UN Security Council to tighten punishment on Pyongyang for its recent tests, underscoring a rift between the permanent members deepened by war.
At the G7, Yoon focused on raising international awareness of the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. The leaders issued a statement on nuclear disarmament that included condemnation of the North’s illicit weapons development and testing activities.
Yoon also met Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the summit and promised South Korean mine-clearing equipment and ambulances as Seoul expands non-lethal aid to Kyiv.
“There were serious civilian casualties and damage (in Ukraine) due to the large number of landmines laid by the Russian army as it retreated from (around) Kyiv. (Ukraine) has requested demining equipment and ambulances, and we are considering these requests first and plan to provide these supplies quickly,” Yoon said at the press conference.
Without specifying, Yoon said that Zelenskyy during their meeting had also presented a list of other non-lethal supplies he wanted from South Korea and that Seoul was “carefully considering” the request.
South Korea, a growing arms exporter with a well-equipped U.S.-backed military, has provided humanitarian aid and other forms of support to Ukraine while joining economic sanctions led by the United States against Moscow. Seoul has not directly supplied arms to Ukraine, citing a long-standing policy of not supplying arms to countries actively engaged in conflict.
It was not immediately clear whether Zelenskyy during his meeting with Yoon reiterated a previous request for South Korea to provide weapons.
This story corrects part of Yoon’s quote.