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Taoiseach meets President Yoon at end of Team Ireland Trade Mission Week in Korea

Taoiseach meets President Yoon at end of Team Ireland Trade Mission Week in Korea

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar concluded his visit to Korea this week as part of the first Team Ireland Trade Mission week.

Accompanied by Ministers Coveney, Harris and McConalogue, the Mission aimed to deepen political, trade, investment and education links with this vital partner in the Asia Pacific region.

Speaking following his meeting with President Yoon, the Taoiseach said it was an honour to be in Seoul this week to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Korea and to have a productive discussion with President Yoon.

The Taoiseach has also invited President Yoon to pay a return visit to Ireland.

“Relations between Ireland and Korea are excellent and have never been stronger. In my meeting with President Yoon we discussed how we can deepen our political, economic, educational and cultural ties.

“We discussed our commitment to multilateralism and the rules-based international order. I congratulated the President on Korea’s election to the United Nations Security Council for the 2024-25 term and offered Ireland’s assistance, given our own recent term on the Council. I also assured President Yoon of our shared commitment to disarmament and non-proliferation.

“The global impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine was a major topic of discussion, along with the escalating conflict in the Middle East, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

“I was honoured to lay a wreath at the Korean War Memorial this morning, in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the conflict, including many of Irish heritage. It’s a little known fact that almost 150 Irish people were killed in action during the Korean War.

“I also visited the demilitarised zone yesterday, a sobering privilege for any individual, and an important reminder of the importance of multilateral cooperation on peacekeeping at a time when Irish and Korean peacekeepers are serving side by side with UNIFIL in Lebanon.

“Trade Mission Week allowed me and my Ministerial colleagues to meet with important Korean decision-makers and business leaders. I explained Ireland’s story as an innovative country with a proven track record and a world-class supplier of goods and services, and an internationally renowned investment partner.

“The EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a platform to grow trade between Ireland and Korea, including in terms of market access for agri-products. And I know that the decision to allow Korea to join the EU research framework Horizon Europe will enhance innovation partnerships in both countries.

“I was also pleased to meet the small but vibrant Irish community in Korea, and to hear their stories and the bond they have with their new home.”