Published on 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visiting Korean Demilitarised Zone as part of Team Ireland trade mission

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visiting Korean Demilitarised Zone as part of Team Ireland trade mission

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has today visited the demilitarised zone dividing the Korean Peninsula as part of the Team Ireland Trade Mission to the Republic of Korea.

The visit to the demilitarised zone – or DMZ – took place a day before the Taoiseach meets the President of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, to discuss security issues and the importance of peacekeeping and multilateralism in an increasingly uncertain world.

The Taoiseach’s visit to the demilitarised zone between the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is the first engagement during his visit as part of the Trade Mission. On his return to Seoul, he will meet with the heads of several Korean multinationals, other business leaders, and representatives from the Irish community.

The Taoiseach said:

“The global outlook is increasingly uncertain with Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East. Against this backdrop, I was keen to see at first hand the impact of one of the longest-running frozen conflicts in the world.

“The situation at the demilitarised zone in Korea continues to have implications for security on the Korean Peninsula and the wider Asia Pacific region. This frozen conflict and the threat posed by a nuclearised North Korea continues to have serious consequences for millions of people. The demilitarised zone in Korea is a sobering reminder of the importance of multilateralism and peacekeeping.

“This visit to the demilitarised zone comes ahead of my meeting with President Yoon, as we will discuss the importance of countries working together through international bodies like the United Nations on global issues like climate change and sustainable development. We will also discuss the global security situation, not least on the Korean Peninsula and the wider region. It is also an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations as we celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and South Korea, as likeminded counties.”

As part of the Team Ireland Trade Mission Week, the Taoiseach has joined Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Simon Coveney, the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Charlie McConalogue, and the Minister for Further & Higher Education Simon Harris, who arrived in Korea earlier in the week.

On Thursday evening the Taoiseach will speak at a Team Ireland Trade Mission Reception with Irish and Korean businesses, and on Friday he will meet the leaders of several Korean multinationals to discuss further investment opportunities.

The Taoiseach and his colleagues are holding a series of meetings to open up new trade, investment and education links with the world’s 12th largest economy and the fourth largest economy in Asia.

Ireland has an ambitious plan to deepen our economic relationship with Korea and the broader Asia Pacific, by growing trade and investment, especially as this region remains an engine of growth for the global economy. Only last week Ireland published an updated Asia Pacific strategy, setting out our plan to deepen relationships in the region.