The Korea Herald


Yoon talks with Korean, French youth, emphasizes innovation, solidarity

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : June 21, 2023 - 01:55

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol engaged in talks with French and Korean youth in Paris on Tuesday, under the slogan "Coffee with the President: Freedom and Solidarity as a Force for Innovation."

After participating in a summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and delivering a presentation at the general assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions, President Yoon visited Station F, the world’s largest startup campus, to engage in discussions with the future generation.

During his speech, Yoon expressed his observation that, although they were from diverse nationalities and backgrounds, the young people actively work together to address humanity's challenges with a remarkable spirit of solidarity.

Yoon emphasized the necessity for continuous innovation rooted in the principles of freedom and solidarity to effectively tackle pressing challenges and crises, including supply chain disruptions, the energy and climate crisis, as well as health and digital divides.

“These issues pose threats to the freedom of (people) worldwide and the peace and prosperity of the international community,” Yoon said. “We must arm ourselves with an innovative mindset based on liberalism and internationalism.”

Referring to Station F as "a symbol of internationalism and innovation," Yoon highlighted the significance of this hub, where young people from across the globe come together to collaborate, exchange ideas, and spearhead new trends and technologies. He noted the presence of young Koreans nurturing their startup dreams at Station F, as well as French talents benefiting from incubation provided by Korean companies. Yoon emphasized that this symbiotic relationship between the two nations demonstrates that "the future is already within our reach."

To actively engage the Korean government in the path of innovation through international solidarity and cooperation grounded in universal values, Yoon pledged to assume a leadership role in overcoming global crises. This commitment involves promoting membership in Horizon Europe, as well as signing agreements such as the Korea-European Union Green Partnership and the Korea-EU Digital Partnership.

Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding program for research and innovation. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

Among the attendees of the event were Roxanne Varza, director of Station F, and Cedric O, former French secretary of state.