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Korea, Finland seek closer cooperation

President Moon Jae-in on Monday held a summit with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, where they agreed to engage in bilateral cooperation on energy and industrial innovation.

The two countries also agreed to boost cooperation on policies related to gender equality and quality of life. 

President Moon Jae-in and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto hold a joint press conference in Helsinki on Monday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto hold a joint press conference in Helsinki on Monday. Yonhap

Moon is currently in Finland on a state visit, the first stop in his three-nation tour of northern Europe. From Finland, Moon will move on to Norway and Sweden.

According to Seoul’s presidential office, the two leaders discussed a wide range of topics, including ways to improve bilateral relations; regional political issues, including security in Europe and on the Korean Peninsula; inclusive growth policy; and cooperation on global issues. Inclusive growth, one of the Moon administration’s main economic policies, focuses on fairer distribution of wealth.

Cheong Wa Dae also said Niinisto had expressed Finland’s support for Moon’s efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Following the one-on-one summit, the two sides held an expanded meeting where a variety of issues were discussed, ranging from the “fourth industrial revolution” and startup policies to energy and social welfare.

At the meeting, Moon requested Finland’s continued cooperation with South Korea’s defense industry, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Finland signed a contract to import used K-9 self-propelled guns from Korea in 2017. Under the contract, worth $150 million, 48 K-9 self-propelled guns will be supplied to Finland by 2023.

At the meeting, Moon and Niinisto agreed that people-to-people exchanges were the foundation for improving bilateral relations, and welcomed the planned operation of direct flights between Busan and Helsinki. The Busan-Helsinki route will begin operating in March 2020.

According to Seoul’s presidential office, Moon and Niinisto agreed to utilize Finland’s Talent Boost program and other means to increase the exchange of talent between the two countries.

Introduced in 2017, Talent Boost is designed to facilitate the efforts of foreigners to study, seek employment or open businesses in Finland. Its scope covers a wide range of areas, including software development and artificial intelligence.

Monday also saw the two countries sign a number of memorandums of understanding, including one on increasing cooperation in areas concerning SMEs, startups and industrial innovation.

Under the memorandum, the two countries will increase exchanges involving startups and a Korea Startup Center will be set up in Helsinki, Cheong Wa Dae said.

Other memorandums dealt with stronger cooperation on policies related to renewable energy, gender equality and work-life balance.

By Choi He-suk (