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[Herald Interview] 'Peru firmly supports NK denuclearization'

Peruvian FM in Seoul to attend Korea-LAC Future Cooperation Forum held in its 17th year

By Sanjay Kumar

Published : June 10, 2024 - 14:26

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Javier Gonzalez-Olaechea.(Embassy of Peru in Seoul) Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru Javier Gonzalez-Olaechea.(Embassy of Peru in Seoul)

Amid intensifying nuclear threats from North Korea, Peru firmly supports the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the South American country's foreign minister told The Korea Herald.

In a written interview, Foreign Minister Javier Gonzalez-Olaechea condemned North Korea's continuous tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles, calling the reclusive regime a serious threat to international peace and security.

The minister is in Seoul to participate in the Korea-LAC Future Cooperation Forum, co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups. LAC is short for Latin America and the Caribbean. The forum, in its 17th year, centers on substantive cooperation to boost the economy, enhance people's livelihoods and promote shared growth. Countries that attended the forum also included Cuba, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala. The event had a Cuban delegation visiting South Korea for the first time since the two countries established diplomatic relations earlier this year.

Forums like this bring together positions and initiatives at the bilateral level and through joint efforts between Latin American countries and Korea in confronting common challenges, according to Gonzalez-Olaechea.

Commenting on bilateral relations, Gonzalez-Olaechea mentioned the Free Trade Agreement signed in 2011 and the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2012 as milestones for political consultations and economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

"President Dina Boluarte participated in the last democracy summit held in Seoul last March, where we discussed mechanisms to fight authoritarianism, combat corruption, and promote human rights," he noted, underscoring the need to defend and strengthen democracy.

He also discussed Peru's current presidency of the APEC Forum and the priorities for its term, including establishing a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, to promote the transition to a formal and global economy, and pursue sustainable growth.

"It is of our special interest to continue learning from Korea's expertise in its rapid development process, particularly in establishing a culture of scientific innovation," he said, stressing reciprocal visits to energize the bilateral ties.

Meanwhile, Gonzalez-Olaechea also highlighted the growing presence of Korean companies in Peru and their significant contributions to infrastructure, agriculture, fishing and hydrocarbons and noted the jump in bilateral trade that reached around $4 billion in 2023.

"More and more Peruvian companies seek to enter into the supply chains of Korean products thanks to the advantages offered by our FTA," he said, praising the strategic alliance between Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Industrial Services of the Peruvian Navy (SIMA) for naval construction projects.

"Korea is a strategic partner in political and economic fields, investment, defense and cooperation," he said.