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Korea, Sweden seek closer cooperation in economic, social issues

President Moon Jae-in and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Thursday held a summit meeting in Seoul, discussing ways to improve ties as well as economic and political cooperation.

According to Seoul’s presidential office, Moon and Lofven agreed to strengthen Korea-Sweden cooperation in trade, investment, defense, science and technology, and to expand cooperation in responding to the “fourth industrial revolution.”

South Korea and Sweden hold a summit meeting in Seoul on Wednesday. Yonhap
South Korea and Sweden hold a summit meeting in Seoul on Wednesday. Yonhap

“(I) hope the bilateral cooperation to go beyond startups, future growth, ICT and defense industries to gender equality and social welfare,” Moon said, adding that Korea will seek closer cooperation with Sweden in global issues such as environment.

Cheong Wa Dae also said that the two leaders agreed that their governments were closely cooperating in international issues such as free trade, climate change and nonproliferation, and to continue cooperating closely for world peace.

The presidential office also said that Moon thanked Lofven for the Swedish government’s efforts to aid US-North Korea dialogue, such as hosting working-level talks between Pyongyang and Washington, and requested his continued support.

Following the summit, the two sides signed two memorandums of understanding calling for increased cooperation in health and welfare as well as gender equality.

Under the health and welfare memorandum, the two sides will cooperate in fields concerning public health care policies, social policies, cancer and senile dementia.

The gender equality memorandum focuses on increasing cooperation with regards to related policies and exchange among experts.

Earlier in the day, the two leaders also attended the Korea-Sweden Business Forum, where Moon emphasized the opportunity for cooperation between the companies and governments of the two countries.

At the forum, Moon put forward three directions for increasing economic cooperation between the two.

The first is to expand cooperation in fields related to future industries, with a focus on next-generation telecommunication technology, artificial intelligence, pharmaceuticals and construction of smart cities.

The second direction Moon suggested is to increase cooperation among Korea and Sweden’s private and public sectors in responding to climate change and pursuing sustainable development. According to Seoul’s presidential office, Moon stressed the need for further cooperation between Korean and Swedish firms on hydrogen power and eco-friendly automobiles.

Moon’s third suggestion tied into his vision of a “peace economy,” which he proposed as a model for economic development following North Korea’s denuclearization.

“The Korean Peninsula’s peace will result in the networks of the continent and the oceans being connected. If the roads and railways of the South and North are connected, a land route across the Eurasian continent to Scandinavia will be opened,” Moon said. He added that the Korean Peninsula can also act as a base for connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Arctic route.

“Sweden proved that peace is economy, and economy is peace. Peace on the Korean Peninsula will provide more opportunities for the companies of the two countries.”