National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug, who was on an official visit to Italy and Greek, discussed with the two countries’ politicians ways to bolster cooperation in areas of travel, smart city development, energy and infrastructure, officials said Friday.
Park visited Italy on Thursday and met with Senate Speaker Elisabetta Casellati and House Speaker Roberto Fico to exchange opinions on pending issues between the two countries.
He urged Italy to include Korea in their Green Pass system, a “digital passport” that allows visitors traveling to Italy to be exempt from mandatory quarantine and is proof they are COVID-free.
Under the system, the Green Pass is given to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or have recovered after a COVID-19 infection and have antibodies, or have negative PCR test results taken within 72 hours.
Currently, travelers from 27 European Union countries, the UK, Israel, the US, Canada and Japan, are subject to the Green Pass system and can use the smartphone app.
“I am wondering why Korea is missing (in the list) even though some Asian countries are included in the Green Pass system,” Park told Casellati, according to a statement from the National Assembly.
The inclusion of Korea on the list of approved countries would help boost tourism in Italy and economic cooperation between the two countries, Park said, adding that Korea is “a model country selected by the World Health Organization in the fight against coronavirus.”
In response, Casellati agreed that “Korea is setting a global example in quarantine, and the infection rate is especially low.”
“I am sympathetic toward the Green Pass issue. This issue is not for the National Assembly to decide, but I will strongly convey it to the administration,” she added.
Prior to the visit to Italy, Park had also stopped by Greece to meet with President Katerina Sakellaropoulou in Athens on Tuesday. They discussed ways to expand economic cooperation in various fields, including energy, infrastructure and smart city development.
During the talks, Park told Sakellaropoulou that Greece, the world’s No. 1 shipping powerhouse, and Korea, the No. 1 shipbuilder, enjoy a mutual win-win relationship thanks to the close cooperation between the two countries.
“Based on this cooperation, we hope to further strengthen cooperation in energy, infrastructure and smart cities in the future,” he said.
Park said Korea’s leading companies have a lot of interest and hope in participating in the development of Greece’s Hellenikon Metropolitan Park.
The multibillion euro coastal park is being built on the site of the former Hellenikon International Airport in Athens, Greece.
“Korea is already building smart cities by combining eco-friendly energy and information technologies at home and abroad,” Park said, giving examples such as Abdullah City in Kuwait.
Sakellaropoulou was positive about potential opportunities ahead and said such tie-ups would “allow bilateral relations to move forward further.”
By Shin Ji-hye (firstname.lastname@example.org