(L-R) Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Minister for Cooperation and Humanitarian Action; Tae-yul Cho, South Korea's Minister for Foreign Affairs; Credit: MAE

On Wednesday 3 and Thursday 4 July 2024, the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Xavier Bettel, and the Minister for Digitalisation, Minister for Research and Higher Education, Stéphanie Obertin, concluded their working visit to the Republic of Korea.

The second part of Minister Bettel's programme was marked by a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, the Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cho Tae-yul, which provided an opportunity to take stock of bilateral relations between the two countries and the avenues for further deepening them, particularly in the economic, financial and cultural fields.

In this context, Minister Bettel noted he was pleased to have been able to sign with his counterpart an agreement establishing a working holiday programme between Luxembourg and South Korea. By allowing young Luxembourgers and Koreans aged eighteen to 30 to access the local labour market for a fixed period to finance their stay and spend their holidays there, this programme aims to contribute to strengthening cultural ties between the Luxembourg and Korean peoples.

Minister Bettel and his Korean counterpart also had an exchange of views on the situation in the Indo-Pacific and the Korean peninsula, tensions with North Korea, the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East, including the issue of the recognition of a Palestinian state.

Ministers Bettel and Obertin were also able to visit the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, created in 1953 when the armistice was signed between the two countries. The Luxembourg delegation was able to attend presentations by members of the United Nations Command in Korea (UNC).

The two ministers also met with stakeholders from the Korean economic world, the ministries confirmed.

Minister Obertin met Young-bin Yoon, the Administrator of the Korean AeroSpace Administration (KASA), newly created in May 2024. This working meeting was dedicated to exploring avenues for strengthening collaboration between Luxembourg and Korea in the field of space and space resources in particular, for example through research collaborations with the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) of the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST).

Minister Obertin also met her counterpart, the South Korean Minister of Science and Information and Communication Technology, Jong Ho Lee. In this context, a memorandum of understanding was signed aiming to strengthen research collaborations in the fields of biology and health.