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The President Holds Summit with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet

By   /   April 24, 2015  /   No Comments

The President Holds Summit with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet

President Park Geun-hye and President Michelle Bachelet of the Republic of Chile held a summit today. They noted the current status of bilateral relations and had in-depth discussions on issues of mutual interest, including how to expand economic and trade cooperation and diversify substantive collaboration as well as how to work together at the regional and international level.
President Park began by saying that Koreans had especially close affinity with Chile because it was the first South American country, with traditional ties of friendship, to recognize the Government of the Republic of Korea and became Korea’s first FTA partner. She also expressed the hope that the two countries, both of which pursue a national resurgence on the strength of innovation, would be able to achieve shared growth by stepping up mutual cooperation in high value-added areas like science and technology, information and communications, healthcare and medicine, the defense industry and education.
Welcoming President Park to Chile, President Bachelet highlighted the fact that the two nations had worked together to make the strongest bilateral relations to date. She went on to say that their summit this time would serve as a crucial catalyst for further deepening and developing the relationship between the two countries.
Taking note of the fact that bilateral trade had increased since the effectuation of the Korea-Chile FTA, the two heads of state agreed to make varied efforts to expand trade as there still remained ample room to do so in light of the two countries’ potential.
President Bachelet said that the Korea-Chile FTA, which came into effect in 2004, had played a great role in advancing trade ties between the two countries. She particularly welcomed a decision to convene a meeting of the Korea-Chile FTA implementation committee in June to discuss measures for its further progress. In response, President Park expressed agreement on the necessity of upgrading the Korea-Chile FTA, especially given the fact that the trade environment had changed over the past decade since it took effect. In that regard, President Park said concrete measures should be discussed at the committee meeting.
Concerning the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the President said its finalization had been growing more likely since the beginning of this year and asked the Chilean Government to provide active support to Korea, in the context of strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation, in case the country finally decided to join the agreement. In reply, President Bachelet said that negotiations for the TPP had been tangled and that Chile was ready to share its experience in the TPP negotiations with Korea and extend positive support for Korea’s accession to it. On top of this, she added, Chile would continue to work with Korea on other regional agreements, including the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
President Park stated her opinion that geographical factors would be of no great importance if trade were promoted by means of cutting-edge technologies. She continued to say that Korea and Chile should make active use of e-commerce in order to expand trade by overcoming the geographical distance separating the two countries on the opposite sides of the globe and to diversify trade items. She proposed that the foundation for cooperation be solidified, including making e-commerce platforms more available, so that SMEs in both countries could be equipped with global capabilities from an early stage in their startup and advance into markets around the world.
The President also expressed the hope that the Korea-Chile social security agreement to be signed this time would contribute to improving conditions for people doing business in both countries. She also said she looked forward to the agreement becoming a milestone in boosting mutual investments and people-to-people exchanges.
President Bachelet noted that the Korea-Business Forum this time would become an important turning point in seeking ways to achieve mutually beneficial economic development in the two countries. She also expressed the hope that Korean businesses would make more investments in Chile.
Mentioning that she was well aware of Korean companies’ abundant experiences and technological expertise in the infrastructure sector, President Bachelet explained that some of them were taking part in building the Chacao Channel Bridge, which Chileans had long desired, the Red Dragon coal-fired power plant and the Kelar gas-fired combined cycle power plant. She went on to say that she hoped for the participation of additional Korean businesses in other infrastructure projects in Chile.
In reply, President Park said it was meaningful that Korean businesses had so far participated in many plant construction projects in Chile in furtherance of the economic growth of the nation and expressed the hope that they would be able to continue taking part in major infrastructure projects, including the construction of a tunnel to be drilled in the Andes connecting Chile with Argentina. This project symbolizes integration in South America.
President Park explained that the Korean Government was focusing on nurturing industries encompassing new and renewable energy, energy storage systems (ESS), smart grids and electric vehicles as key areas of the creative economy initiative. In this connection, President Park proposed that Chile and Korea work together to take the lead in responding to climate change and push ahead with various projects to seek new growth engines.
President Bachelet responded by saying that new and renewable energy was very important for her country and that bilateral cooperation in new and renewable energy, including solar power generation, was satisfactory. She proposed that the two nations enhance cooperation in the sector.
Noting that Chile, known for abundant mineral resources, had interest in enhancing its productivity in the mining industry and that Korea was importing resources like copper and lithium from Chile, President Park said that the enhancement of bilateral cooperation through the joint development of technology would lead to a win-win situation.
Expressing her satisfaction over the MOU on the development of technologies to utilize low-grade copper ore, which has been signed this time, President Bachelet said that she welcomed the two nations` commitments to cooperation in the field and went on to propose that they strive to further strengthen such cooperation in the days to come.
President Park said she welcomed the signing of an MOU on cooperation in healthcare and medical services, adding that more efforts were needed to further expand the foundation for cooperation in this sector.
Saying that she hoped for an enhancement of cooperation in many health-related areas through the MOU, President Bachelet proposed cooperation for drug safety and regulation, patient services, telemedicine and exchanges of experiences and information on health care and medical services in furtherance of the health of the two peoples. The President went on to propose that the two nations make more efforts to expand cooperation in the sector through internship programs and seminars.
President Park next expressed her appreciation to the Chilean Government for its support for the operation of the King Sejong Station in the Antarctic and added that it was necessary for the two nations to enhance cooperation in the region and work together with the international community for the utilization and conservation of the Antarctic.
Commenting on the plan to establish a center for cooperation in the Antarctic within the Instituto Antártico Chileno (Chilean Antarctic Institute) in Punta Arenas, the southernmost tip of the country, President Bachelet said that cooperation concerning the Antarctic was crucial in terms of science and technology as well as climate change response and that she looked forward to an expansion of cooperation in the days to come.
President Park moved on to Korea`s participation in the infrastructure project for astronomical observation in Chile, including the establishment of the Korea Microlensing Telescopes Network (KMTNet). In this connection, President Park expressed the hope that an MOU on cooperation in astronomy and space science, signed this time, would pave the way for joint research and exchanges of experts, producing mutually beneficial results.
President Bachelet noted that science and technology played a significant role in the progress of Korea, which inspired her greatly, and added that she was highly interested in ways to enhance cooperation with Korea in science and technology.
President Park expressed the hope that the amendment of the MOU on ICT cooperation would help promote cooperation in newly emerging fields of ICT, including mobile communications, Big Data, the Internet of Things and the conversion to digital broadcasting, and that mutually beneficial cooperation would be expanded through an MOU on cooperation in e-government, making it possible for Korea to share its experiences and know-how on the e-government system with Chile.
Concerning cooperation in e-government, President Bachelet said that she was well aware of Korea`s advanced technology and accumulated experiences and that the MOU signed this time had added significance given her country`s plan to establish the e-government system in many organizations. The President continued to say that she looked forward to Korea`s sharing of its technology and experiences in the future.
President Park said she considered the bilateral agreement on working holidays, Korea’s first such agreement with a Latin American country, an especially meaningful outcome of their summit. She said she looked forward to stronger mutual understanding between the people of Korea and Chile and a stronger basis for cooperation as a result of expanded exchanges between their young people, the leaders of the next generation.
Referring to this agreement and the Korea-Chile FTA, she said that Korea and Chile had undertaken various new initiatives, an indication of their high potential for achieving shared growth in a forward-looking partnership. Mentioning an earlier MOU on exchanges of human resources signed during President Bachelet’s 2009 visit to Korea, through which Chilean students on government scholarships were given the opportunity to study at Korea’s science and engineering colleges, President Park said she was pleased at the signing this time of an MOU on short-term internships at science and engineering colleges, which would further expand exchanges of talented young people between the two countries.
President Park also welcomed the signing of an agreement on cooperation in the defense industry and military logistics that had been under negotiation for 12 years. She described the agreement as a meaningful outcome through which an institutional basis for cooperation in these sectors would be established and said she looked forward to the overall expansion of cooperation in both sectors through various dialogue channels. President Bachelet also welcomed the expansion of cooperation in the defense industry and military logistics through this agreement.
President Park, saying she was aware of Chile’s plans to commission a new icebreaker and support ships in line with its military modernization initiative, suggested that Korea’s globally recognized companies would be able to provide assistance in this area.
On the topic of North Korea, President Park thanked the Chilean Government for its active participation in international efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and improve the human rights situation and requested continued support and cooperation in persuading the North to pursue genuine change.
A unified Korea, the President explained, would contribute not only to bringing peace but also stirring new growth in Northeast Asia and the world by opening previously blocked channels for regional cooperation. She asked for continued interest and support to this end from President Bachelet and the Chilean Government.
In reply, President Bachelet said expansion of regional cooperation with various cooperative bodies in Latin America was a key priority for Chile and that the Government hoped to pursue greater cooperation with Korea and other observer countries of the Pacific Alliance.
Today’s summit served as an important milestone in the development of bilateral relations. The two leaders reaffirmed the Korea-Chile relationship as an important partnership rooted in common values and explored a wide range of potential areas for cooperation.
The summit also helped build intergovernmental consensus on the direction for substantive cooperation. A total of three agreements and numerous MOUs were concluded as concrete steps in this direction, establishing an institutional basis for efforts for mutually beneficial shared growth. The two countries agreed to diversify bilateral cooperation beyond the traditional sphere of trade and investment to high value-added industries like defense, science and technology and new and renewable energies, with Korea sharing its advanced knowledge and experience regarding generation of new growth engines, strengthening their forward-looking partnership through related measures in education and human resource development.

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