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Korea, Sweden to expand trade, science partnership

The leaders of South Korea and Sweden agreed Wednesday to step up bilateral cooperation in trade, culture, science and green growth during their summit in Seoul, Cheong Wa Dae said.

“President Lee Myung-bak and Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf acknowledged expanding trade, investment and technological collaboration between the two countries. They also agreed to develop partnerships in basic science, life science and green growth,” the presidential office said in a statement.

The king and Queen Silvia arrived here Tuesday for a four-day stay, which marks the first state visit by the Swedish monarch.

Lee noted that the Scandinavian nation has consistently contributed to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Stockholm provided medical support during the Korean War, served on the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission after the North-South truce and took part in a fact-finding panel on North Korea’s 2010 sinking of a South Korean naval corvette that killed 46 sailors. 
Lee Se-ung, president of the Korea Sweden Cultural Society, delivers a plaque of appreciation to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf during an event hosted by the association Wednesday.(Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Lee Se-ung, president of the Korea Sweden Cultural Society, delivers a plaque of appreciation to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf during an event hosted by the association Wednesday.(Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

The king praised Korea’s swift economic ascent and increasing political leadership on the global stage and expressed hopes for the success of the Yeosu Expo, Seoul officials said.

Korea has been seeking to boost cooperation with Nordic countries, focusing on sharing knowhow in scientific development, renewable energy and other clean technologies. It is also striving to beef up its Arctic research and business in partnership with Sweden, Denmark, Finland and other stakeholders in the region.

Korea and Sweden struck an agreement in 2009 for cooperation in science and technology. They have been carrying out joint research and forums and accelerating exchanges between universities and think tanks since then.

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1959. Lee visited Stockholm in 2009 in commemoration of their 50th anniversary.

Bilateral trade volume almost doubled in two years to around $3.2 billion in 2011. Korean companies have invested nearly $1.5 billion in Sweden collectively until last year. The tally for their Swedish peers remained at about $81.4 million.

Later in the day, the Swedish leader met with some 300 prominent figures in culture, art and education from both countries.

The royal couple also plans to visit the Yeosu Expo, tour the Demilitarized Zone and meet business leaders, according to the Swedish Embassy.

By Shin Hyon-hee (heeshin@heraldcorp.com)
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