November 10, 2023
SEOUL – President Yoon Suk Yeol held a summit with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, on a state visit to South Korea, and discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
“Italy is a country that had helped us during the Korean War with medical support. … Together we share values like freedom, human rights and the rule of law. I look forward to strengthening exchanges in the future,” Yoon said at the meeting Wednesday. Rome was one of five countries that deployed medical staff for the 1950-53 conflict, which ended only in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
The summit focused on expanding cooperation in cutting-edge technologies. The two leaders shook hands on working together on tech know-how involving space, artificial intelligence and carbon emissions.
“In the face of growing crises globally, solidarity and cooperation with countries sharing values like freedom are essential,” Yoon said at a press conference following the talks.
The latest dialogue, which took place before the countries mark 140 years of relations in 2024, came as Seoul steps up efforts to raise its international profile as what it calls a “global pivotal state.” Yoon wants to communicate that Seoul is as concerned with advancing its own interests as it is with giving back to the international community.
With that goal in mind, Korea will continue to contribute to “promoting peace and prosperity” while forging ties with Italy, according to the Korean leader.
“Italy and Korea are similar in many ways,” Mattarella said. “And besides business, the two need each other’s backing on the cultural level, and in many other sectors,” he added, saying the imperative to do so dates back to 2018, when Seoul and Rome elevated ties, calling each other a “strategic partner.”