President arrives in Berlin on a three-nation tour
BERLIN ― President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday arrived in Berlin on the first leg of his week-long European tour aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investment as well as cooperation for low carbon, green growth.
Lee’s trip to Germany, Denmark and France comes just days after the National Assembly ratified Korea’s free trade pact with the European Union. The Korea-EU FTA is slated to take effect in July.
Upon arrival in the German capital Sunday afternoon, Lee held an interview with local daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
He then met with South Korean residents here in the evening.
Lee is scheduled to hold summit talks with German President Christian Wulff Monday morning before a short visit to the Brandenburg Gate.
Lee will hold talks on mostly economic cooperation and a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Monday after lunch with the mayor of Berlin. The Korean president will attend a dinner hosted by Wulff.
President Lee Myung-bak and first lady Kim Yun-ok wave before boarding an airplane at Seoul Airport on Sunday to go on a week-long tour of Germany, Denmark and France. (Yonhap News)
On Tuesday, Lee is set to discuss reunification issues with German officials and academics who were involved in the reunification process of East and West Germany.
He will then travel to Frankfurt for meetings with the chief executives of Germany’s major businesses, Korean residents there and a dinner hosted by the leader of the state of Hesse, a Cheong Wa Dae official said.
On Wednesday, Lee will fly to Copenhagen where he will focus on expanding ties with Denmark, a leader of environment-friendly energy development, for his globally acclaimed policy of low-carbon, green growth.
Lee will hold a luncheon meeting with Danish businessmen, tour a block of eco-friendly homes in the Danish capital, and attend the opening ceremony of research institute for green growth before going to an official welcome dinner.
On Thursday, Lee is slated to attend the launch of a Korea-Denmark Green Growth Alliance and a forum on green growth in the morning.
Lee will then hold talks and a joint press conference with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen later Thursday.
He will meet hold meetings with a couple of leaders of Danish companies before taking off for Paris on Thursday evening.
On Friday, Lee is scheduled to meet with French businessmen who will attend the Group of 20 Business Summit. The G20 summit will be held in Cannes in November.
Lee plans to hold a business luncheon with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday during which the two leaders will discuss expanding trade and cooperation in aerospace engineering and the defense industry.
The president will then meet with the secretary generals of the OECD and the UNESCO before receiving an honorary doctorate at the Paris 7 University.
Lee will head home Saturday afternoon after a breakfast meeting with French scholars, an interview with Le Monde newspaper, talks with Korean residents there and a luncheon with Korean businessmen accompanying him.
The president will arive home next Sunday.
“The issue of Oegyujanggak (Korea’s centuries-old royal books) had been a barrier to bilateral relations with France, but their recent return is opening an opportunity to take the Korean-French ties to a new level,” an aide to Lee told reporters.
Two hundred and ninety seven volumes of the royal books from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) were looted by French troops in 1866 and had been kept at the French national library since. The second shipment of the books arrived in Korea last week and the remaining two shipments will be delivered by May 27.
By Kim So-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent (firstname.lastname@example.org