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Korea, Denmark ink green growth deal

Lee agrees with Danish leader to expand political and economic ties

COPENHAGEN ― President Lee Myung-bak agreed with Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen during their summit talks here Thursday to reinforce political and economic cooperation as well as technological exchanges for green growth.

Korea and Denmark also launched earlier in the day a “Green Growth Alliance,” which includes Copenhagen’s contribution of $15 million for the next three years to the Green Growth Institute that Lee established last year.

The alliance is partly aimed at combining Korea’s strong manufacturing capabilities and Denmark’s top-notch eco-friendly technologies to tap into potential green growth markets such as China, a Lee aide told reporters.

Calling Denmark the “first mover” and Korea the “fast mover” of green growth, Lee said that the marriage of the two would make them a “smart mover” in leading the world into a green economy.

In addition to affirming their shared commitment to support the transition of developing countries to a green economy, Korea and Denmark agreed to further enhance defense cooperation and continue efforts to help underdeveloped countries in Africa and elsewhere fight poverty, according to a joint statement released as a result of the summit.
President Lee Myung-bak and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark make a toast during a state dinner at the Fredensborg Palace on Wednesday, the first day of Lee’s two-day state visit to the Scandinavian country. (Yonhap News)
President Lee Myung-bak and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark make a toast during a state dinner at the Fredensborg Palace on Wednesday, the first day of Lee’s two-day state visit to the Scandinavian country. (Yonhap News)

During Lee’s visit here, Seoul and Copenhagen signed a preliminary agreement to enhance their defense suppliers’ access to tenders in each other’s markets, brightening hopes of sales of Korea’s T-50 trainer jet to Denmark, in addition to more memoranda of understanding on a working holiday program as well as education and human resource development.

The two sides also put the alliance in ink Thursday based on Seoul’s “Low-Carbon, Green Growth Strategy,” which aims to enhance energy efficiency and use renewable energy to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction target of 30 percent relative to a business-as-usual scenario by 2020, and Copenhagen’s “Energy Strategy 2050,” which outlines the Scandinavian country’s path to becoming fully independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

Beyond energy and climate change, Lee and Rasmussen agreed to bolster cooperation towards a comprehensive green economy including the sustainable management of fundamental natural resources such as fresh water, clean air and natural ecosystems through a combination of resource efficiency and pollution prevention efforts, according to a joint statement on the alliance.

Denmark, which has the world’s largest shipping company AP Moeller, and Korea, home to the world’s top shipbuilders, also noted in the joint statement that shipping was one of the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

“Korea and Denmark are committed to enhancing this benefit, and are backing efficient implementation of the International Maritime Organization regulation for preventing air pollution and the IMO Convention on Ballast Water,” the statement read, predicting an increase in Danish orders for Korean shipbuilders.

As part of the green growth alliance, government agencies, universities and companies of the two countries signed nine MOUs Thursday.

They were between Seoul’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy and Copenhagen’s Ministry of Climate and Energy on ties for renewable energy and smart grids; KAIST and the DTU on green technologies; the city of Copenhagen and Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group on hydrogen-fueled cars; SK and Topseo Fuel Cell on fuel cells; and Korea Energy Management Corporation and the Danish Energy Agency.

The GGGI also inked an MOU with the Danish government on cooperation for support for green growth and another MOU with Danfoss, the European country’s eco-friendly heating and air-conditioning company.

In addition to Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany and Australia have pledged to contribute to the GGGI.

After the summit talks and luncheon with Rasmussen, Lee held meetings with the chief executives of AP Moeller, Nils Smedegaard Andersen, and chemical company SolVay Group later in the day.

Lee was set to fly to Paris Thursday evening. He is scheduled to return home early Sunday.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the dispatch of the Danish hospital ship “Jutlandia” to support the allied forces who fought in the Korean War (1950-53) under United Nations Command. Korea and Denmark established diplomatic relations in 1959.

By Kim So-hyun, Korea Herald correspondent