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‘France, Korea partners in innovation, global affairs’

With the recent election of French President Emmanuel Macron and his pledge to make France an enabler of international cooperation, there will be more collaborative openings with Korea in strategic dialogue, innovative trade and investment, scientific research and education, as well as security and defense, according to the French Embassy in Seoul.

Furthermore, fighting climate change is another area the two countries can cooperate in, as Macron and his Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in vowed in their meeting on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8. France will convene a summit on climate action on Dec. 12, two years after the historic Paris climate agreement.

“The summit will take stock of what has been achieved in the fight against climate chance, especially on the financing side,” French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone told The Korea Herald via email. “We need to mobilize private and public financial resources to fund new projects.”

Highlighting the Green Climate Fund in Songdo, Incheon, the envoy said the institution was vital for both countries.

Noting Macron has sought to strengthen France’s capacity to prevent and combat terrorism, and Korea faces the growing threat of North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, Penone said the two presidents agreed to increase their defense dialogue and cooperation on the level of defense ministers.

On the economic front, the new government in Paris is striving to inject new dynamism into its economy, laying the groundwork for the “fourth industrial revolution” and the age of automation and digitalization, according to the diplomat.

“France welcomes pioneers, innovators and entrepreneurs of all countries and backgrounds with expertise on green technologies, food science and artificial intelligence,” Penone said.

To attract foreign investment and make the economy more competitive and flexible, Paris has pushed forward plans to reform its labor market, while granting social protection, instituting labor negotiations at the corporate level and increasing vocational training. It has also vowed to reform its tax system in a bid to reduce financial burden on companies and slash public spending and debt.

By Joel Lee (