President Moon Jae-in and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrive at a business forum co-hosted by Korean and Spanish chambers of comerce in Madrid on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
MADRID/SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday agreed to elevate bilateral ties to the status of a “strategic partnership,” under which the two countries will further enhance cooperation in a wide range of areas such as business and technology.
Moon arrived in the Spanish capital Tuesday, becoming the first foreign leader to visit the country since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to their joint statement, the two leaders agreed to advance joint efforts in six key areas: political and diplomatic cooperation; international and multilateral cooperation; international peace and security; economic cooperation; science, technology and innovation; and culture, education, sports, people-to-people exchanges and tourism cooperation.
The leaders also signed separate memorandums of understanding to support exchanges more specifically in the fields of tech, startups and renewable energy.
This year Korea and Spain are celebrating the 71st anniversary of the establishment of officials ties in 1950.
The trade volume between the two nations surged to $5 billion in 2019, but the figure, hit hard by the pandemic, suffered a 11 percent fall to $4.22 billion last year. The leaders pledged efforts to boost the trade volume to pre-pandemic levels.
Their summit talks also touched on topics ranging from COVID-19 response to peace talks on the Korean Peninsula and the leaders vowed their full support for each other.
Earlier in the day, the leaders attended a business forum co-hosted by Korean and Spanish chambers of commerce.
In his keynote speech, Moon said Korea and Spain have already started efforts to transition toward a green and digital economy, citing low-carbon economy, digital innovation and joint entry into promising markets as areas where the two nations could further expand partnerships in the near future.
Moon was set to fly to Barcelona later in the day to attend meetings with business leaders. Spain is the last leg of the president’s weeklong European tour and follows trips to the UK and Austria. He is scheduled to return home Friday.
By Lee Ji-yoon and Joint Press Corps