Seoul – South Korea and the European Union Saturday called for an early conclusion of negotations on a free trade agreement and updating a framework treaty on trade and cooperation.
“The leaders agreed the future-oriented partnership between the sides will not only help improve the bilateral relationship between Korea and EU, but will also contribute to the development and peace of their regions and the international community,” they said in a joint statement released at the end of the fourth EU-South Korea summit.
South Korea’s President Lee Myung Bak, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Czech President Vaclav Klaus, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, vowed cooperation in the fight against climate change and the global downturn.
Barroso and Klaus arrived in Seoul Friday after concluding an EU-Russia summit held in Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East. Also participating from the EU side are Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner for external relations and neighbourhood policy and Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton.
South Korea was a “like-minded country,” Barroso said, adding that the EU wanted to conclude an “alliance of values” with the South-East Asian nation.
The EU is South Korea’s second-largest trade partner after China and the biggest investor in the country. (dpa)