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S. Korea, Switzerland agree to expand cooperation on health

The leaders of South Korea and Switzerland agreed Wednesday to expand bilateral cooperation in promising industry sectors including health care, medicine, and information and communications technologies (ICT), the presidential office here said.

After their summit in Seoul, President Park Geun-hye and her Swiss counterpart Johann Schneider-Ammann oversaw the signing of three memorandums of understanding (MOUs) related to ICT cooperation, personnel exchanges and research collaborations in the areas of health care and medicine.

Following his three-day visit to Singapore, Schneider-Ammann arrived in South Korea for a two-day visit. He is the first Swiss president to visit Seoul since the two countries opened diplomatic ties in 1963.
President Park Geun-hye (right) shakes hands with her Swiss counterpart Johann Schneider-Ammann before their talks at her office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on July 13. (Yonhap)
President Park Geun-hye (right) shakes hands with her Swiss counterpart Johann Schneider-Ammann before their talks at her office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on July 13. (Yonhap)
Under one of the MOUs, the two nations agreed to seek joint research on various ICT-related areas such as information security, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and broadband solutions, and to support startups specializing in these areas.

The MOU was signed between South Korea's Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning and Switzerland's Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications.

The other MOUs concern two-way cooperation in fostering exchanges among the two countries' medical professionals and those engaged in the development of new pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in vocational education in line with an MOU that was signed during Park's visit to the European country in January 2014. Under the MOU, students of the Korea Tourism Senior High School here can receive vocational training at a Swiss hotel.

Last year, two-way trade reached US$3.94 billion, with South Korea exporting $1.48 billion worth of ships, cars and petrochemical products to Switzerland and importing $2.45 billion worth of watches, gold and medicine from the European state.

During the bilateral summit, Park also called for Switzerland's continued support for the ongoing international efforts to curb North Korea's provocations and stop its nuclear development. (Yonhap)

Switzerland has been active in implementing U.N. sanctions against the North. It has joined global efforts to put more pressure on Pyongyang by announcing its standalone sanctions against transactions in finance, trade and other areas with the North.

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