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South Korea: a strategic partner in Asia Korea (Republic of, South Korea)

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and South Korean Foreign Minister KANG Kyung‑wha

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and South Korean Foreign Minister KANG Kyung‑wha, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

10.08.2020 - Article

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his South Korean counterpart KANG Kyung‑wha met for the second time for what is known as a “strategic dialogue” to discuss important current issues.

These included, for example, cooperation between Germany and South Korea and questions regarding how to overcome the COVID‑19 pandemic and strengthen the international order.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas  receives South Korean Foreign Minister KANG Kyung‑wha
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas  receives South Korean Foreign Minister KANG Kyung‑wha© Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

Asia is one of the focal points of German foreign policy, which is why it is particularly important for us to conduct such a strategic dialogue with partners who share our interests and values. Today, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas received the South Korean Foreign Minister KANG Kyung‑wha on her first trip abroad since the beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic. The two Foreign Ministers discussed the fight against the pandemic as well as their joint commitment to both disarmament and strengthening multilateralism.

Partners in tackling COVID‑19

South Korea has so far managed to cope with the COVID‑19 pandemic better than almost any other country. Since the first cases there occurred earlier than in Germany, South Korea is several weeks ahead of us in terms of the epidemic itself and the measures to counteract it. In the course of numerous video conferences, South Korea shared its experiences with Germany and helped to ensure that we were able to respond to local outbreaks at an early stage and with adequate measures. Both countries are working to ensure that a vaccine against the disease is developed quickly and are committed to making such a vaccine available as a public good.

Working together for greater multilateralism

Joint press conference: Heiko Maas and Kang Kyung-wha
Joint press conference: Heiko Maas and Kang Kyung-wha© Janine Schmitz/photothek.net

Together with other countries, South Korea and Germany are part of what is known as the Alliance for Multilateralism. Their common goal is to strengthen the rules‑based international order, which is the basis for the peace and prosperity of our countries. Greater cooperation is needed particularly in times of crisis, whether to combat pandemics or to tackle climate change.

The Stockholm Initiative: Germany and South Korea working to promote nuclear disarmament

Germany and South Korea share the experience of being divided by a heavily fortified border. In Germany’s case, this is fortunately a thing of the past, but in South Korea the threat of a nuclear arms build‑up remains tangible. Both countries are part of the Stockholm Initiative together with 14 other members. The aim of this initiative is to inject fresh impetus into nuclear disarmament and to strengthen the dialogue between nuclear‑weapon states and non‑nuclear-weapon states in order to halt and reverse the global trend towards rearmament.

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