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Assembly speaker calls for vaccine cooperation from Europe

National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug holds a video conference with European Parliament President David Sassoli at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug holds a video conference with European Parliament President David Sassoli at the National Assembly in Yeouido, Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
National Assembly Speaker Park Byeong-seug held talks with European Parliament President David Sassoli on Tuesday to discuss pending issues such as the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, Japan‘s wastewater release and peace process on the Korean Peninsula, among others.

During the dialogue via video link, Park asked for Sassoli’s attention and cooperation from the European Parliament to allow vaccines produced in Europe to be introduced to Korea in a timely manner.

Korea’s vaccine rollout since February has been sluggish, with only some 2 percent of the 51 million population inoculated to date, data showed.

In response, Sassoli said the vaccine supply chain is currently facing many problems but promised to prioritize the issue.

Park also brought up the issue of Japan’s controversial planned release of contaminated water from its Fukushima nuclear power plant.

“We hope that Japan will comply with strict international standards and deal with them transparently. Consultations with neighboring countries, including South Korea, are needed in the process,” Park said.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency should conduct objective and scientific verification. It is natural for related countries, including South Korea, to join the verification team.”

Regarding the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, Park called for the respect of the South’s policies in tackling the issue, saying, “The North Korean nuclear issue is a matter of life and death of 80 million people from the two Koreas.”

He also expressed gratitude toward the European Union for their “continued efforts to promote dialogue and exchange with North Korea while implementing sanctions against the North.”

Sassoli promised that the EU would continue “to be on the side of South Korea” to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.

On climate change measures, Park said since the EU and the Korean government are both pushing for their respective “Green New Deal” initiatives aimed at carbon reduction, the two need to increase their chances of development through cooperation.

Park pointed to the success of its P4G video summit held in Seoul at the end of May as an example.

P4G -- Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 -- is a multilateral cooperation network for accelerating green growth and 2030 sustainable development goals through expanding cooperation between public and private institutions around the world.

“We are pleased to have the same approach to climate change,” Sassoli said. “The 27 EU countries will make balanced efforts to achieve common goals by narrowing the gap between countries.”

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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