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The meeting, which was held by video conference, also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the two nations officially becoming strategic partners.
It was originally planned to have been held in Seoul, South Korea’s capital, last month. However, a video call was decided to be the best option due to virus precautions.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in spoke with EU Council President Charles Michel as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on a number of issues that the leaders all faced.
Focus understandably fell on one of South Korea’s most pressing matters in recent weeks – its strained relationship with North Korea.
A report detailing the discussions stated that the EU officials voiced support for South Korea’s “efforts to engage” with North Korea to “achieve peace and prosperity”.
After the summit, Michel said the EU had big concerns about tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and called on Kim Jong-un and the US to resume talks regarding the winding down of the North’s military programme.
Earlier this month, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Son-gown darkened relations between the US and North Korea by questioning whether the two nations need to keep “holding hands”.
In a comment that appeared inflammatory rather than conciliatory, the minister added that Pyongyang would “build up more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US”, the BBC reports.
The rhetoric is in stark contrast to the mood between the two nations just two years ago, when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a landmark summit in Singapore.
It marked the first ever meeting between a siting US president and a North Korean leader, and was seen as a turning point in US-North Korea relations.
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It saw both countries agree to work together towards eventual denuclearisation. However, a second meeting the following year ended in a stalemate with both nations failing to agree on how the North should denuclearise.
Meanwhile, other matters in the South Korea – EU meeting were touched on too, with EU officials praised South Korea for its “innovative” steps in response to the virus outbreak, and also noted its transparency, according to Yonhap news agency.
Meanwhile, Moon stressed the importance of South Korean ties to the EU.
He said that he would “strengthen cooperation” between the two nations and “work together to prepare for the post-COVID era”.
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This cooperation would involve sharing information with one another regarding health and disease control authorities.
The discussions also addressed a variety of other mutual concerns between South Korea and the EU.
For example, according to a document that summed up the conclusions reached by the leaders, both sides would focus on a “green transition” and a “digital transformation” in their pandemic recovery strategies.
This ties in well with South Korea’s so-called ‘New Deal’ which is aimed at promoting economic growth.
According to Moon, the project will comprise two, smaller ones – the Green New Deal and the Digital New Deal.
These will focus on eco-friendly power usage and digital infrastructure, respectively.
It seems that South Korea views the EU as a key partner in achieving these goals.
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