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Swiss president to visit S. Korea next week

Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann will visit Korea next week for talks with President Park Geun-hye and other officials to discuss ways to expand bilateral cooperation in trade, investment and other areas, the Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

Schneider-Ammann will arrive in Seoul on Wednesday next week for a two-day visit following his three-day visit to Singapore, the presidential office said. He will be the first Swiss president to visit the Asian country since the two countries opened diplomatic ties in 1963. Park had invited the Swiss leader to Korea during her visit to Switzerland in January 2014.

During their summit slated for Wednesday, the two leaders plan to exchange views on ways to bolster bilateral cooperation in health care, medicine, information technology and other sectors, Park's office said in a press release.

They are also expected to discuss security threats from North Korea, which has continued to heighten military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond through its saber-rattling moves, including the recent launch of two intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

During his stay here, Schneider-Ammann will also attend a session of the South Korea-Switzerland committee on science and technology and a separate bilateral forum on biotechnology.

"We hope that President Schneider-Ammann's (planned) visit will help deepen and broaden the partnership over the 'creative economy,' which was built through a 2014 (bilateral) summit," the press release said.

The creative economy refers to Park's policy initiative that aims to capitalize on innovative ideas and technologies, such as information and communications technologies, to generate more business opportunities and foster growth.

The Cheong Wa Dae also anticipated that the summit between the two leaders will serve to enhance bilateral cooperation in securing peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Switzerland has been Korea's crucial security partner as its troops have served as part of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, an institution to oversee the implementation of the armistice agreement as an impartial observer.

Last year, two-way trade reached $3.94 billion, with 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. (Yonhap)


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