Introductory statement by President von der Leyen at the EU-Republic of Korea Summit

Dear President Yoon,

I am very pleased to be here in Seoul, and especially on a year in which we celebrate the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. EU-Korea relations have come a very long and successful way. But there is still more we can do together and that is why we are here today.

I think that our discussions today will lay the foundations for closer ties to build a more secure and prosperous future for our people. And I hope that today, we will take important steps forward to strengthen our relations in the green, health and digital areas. The steps will help us to deliver better for our citizens, for example by accelerating the switch to renewable energy and our Green Partnership. We have a health cooperation to strengthen our abilities to respond to health crises. And of course, we will deepen our cooperation on AI, High-Performance Computing and semiconductors.

This morning, I had the opportunity to meet the European business in Korea. It was an excellent meeting from which I am happy to report to you that they were full of praise for the outstanding cooperation with the Korean government and the Korean people. So, thank you for that, we are strategic partners, we share values and common goals. That is why this partnership is particularly important in the current geopolitical context.

We have just come from the G7 in Hiroshima, and it was very important to have you there, President Yoon. The Republic of Korea is an important partner for us, the European Union, as well as for the G7. In Hiroshima, we stood together in defence of the international rules-based order and the principles of the UN Charter. Whether it is in Europe, in the Korean Peninsula, the Indo-Pacific or anywhere in the world, international law must be upheld. And we will not accept that might makes right.

President Yoon,

The lifeblood of our partnership is the 12-year-old Free Trade Agreement between us. It has brought many benefits to companies and people.

I am looking forward to our Summit today.