The Korea Herald


Yoon makes economic diplomacy a top priority

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : July 21, 2022 - 20:24

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President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk-yeol (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol stressed on Thursday that economic diplomacy is important and that he is willing to go anywhere if it helps the economy during a meeting with Foreign Minister Park Jin on Thursday.

After a two and half hour meeting, Minister Park held a press briefing where he said that President Yoon ordered him to look after the diplomatic relationships with Russia, China, Japan and the US -- with a focus on the Korea-US alliance -- and expand diplomatic horizons in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

In terms of Japan, Yoon has a strong willingness to restore the relationship, Park said. “We will seek a reasonable solution with the view that we should create a trust relationship that meets the common interests of Korea and Japan,” Yoon was quoted as saying by the minister.

When asked about whether the solution includes forced labor and comfort women issues, Park said the forced labor matter is “an important pending issue.”

“Considering the aging of victims, it is necessary to seek solutions as soon as possible. It is important to visit Japan and explain our position, and for Japan to take sincere measures on this,” he said.

Lee Yong-soo, a victim of military sexual slavery during the Japanese colonial era, told President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday that the 2015 Korea-Japan agreement on “comfort women” victims is invalid.

“The agreement should be respected as an official agreement between the two governments,” Park said. “The most important thing is to heal wounds in the heart. The government will solve problems in accordance with the spirit of consensus of the agreement.”

Regarding possibly joining the US-led “Chip 4” alliance, a strategic partnership of four global chip powerhouses that includes Korea, Japan and Taiwan, Yoon was quoted as saying “We should make a framework through which we can cooperate on chips.”

For Korea, Park said, chips and supply chains are important and the government will review the alliance in depth and make a conclusion based on national interest.

As for relations with China, “Yoon talked about China a lot,” Park said. “Joining an alliance like the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework does not exclude China.”

Yoon asked Park to explain that to China in advance in order to avoid a misunderstanding.