The Korea Times : Korea Seeks to Broaden Inroads Into Europe
MADRID _ President Roh Moo-hyun has begun a visit to Spain, Italy and Vatican City, in an effort to diversify the foundation of South Korea¡¯s diplomacy.
During the weeklong journey, Roh aims to expand cooperation with Italy and Spain, the world¡¯s seventh and eighth largest economies, respectively, and the Vatican, which is the spiritual home of 1.2 billion Catholics around the globe.
While focusing on the substantial cooperation with the countries in the information-technology (IT) sector as well as trade and investment, Roh will also try to obtain firm support for Seoul¡¯s peace and prosperity policy of engaging North Korea.
As the three countries are popular tourist destinations, Roh will also try to promote cultural exchanges, according to officials traveling with the president.
Joint Strategy With Spain
From Don Quixote and Picasso, traditional bullfighting and flamenco dancing to the nation¡¯s contemporary football fever and wine, Spain is well known to South Koreans as a country of passionate people.
Since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1950, no Korean head of state has made a visit to the European country.
Roh is to meet with King Juan Carlos I on Monday and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday to discuss bilateral and international issues of mutual concern, according to the officials.
Roh and the two Spanish leaders will discuss joint strategies to advance into the Latin American markets together, while seeking cooperation in IT, including WiBro and digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB), said the officials.
While staying in Madrid from Feb. 11 to 14, Roh will also hold a forum with South Korean and Spanish business leaders, visit an exhibition of South Korean products in the capital city and meet South Korean residents in Spain.
He is also scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) along with the Spanish king. South Korea is serving as a guest host for the art festival held in Madrid.
President Roh¡¯s state visit this time, the first of its kind in 57 years, is expected to serve as a catalyst for the two sides to build substantial partnership,¡¯¡¯ Chong Wa Dae spokesman Yoon Seong-yong said.
Llega Madrid presidente de Corea del Sur en primera visita de Estado España
President of South Korea comes Madrid in the first visit of State to Spain
The president of South Korea, Roh Moo-Hyun, came today at 17:00 to Madrid for a visit of State to Spain, which will begin tomorrow and in the one that will be got by the King and the chief of the Executive, Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
This one is the first official visit of a chief of Korean State to Spain and takes place more than ten years after, in October, 1996, the Kings realized a visit of State to Korea.
The Korean president came today to the Pavilion of State of the airport of Barajas accompanied of three ministers of his office (Foreign Affairs and Exterior Trade; Trade, Industry and Energy, and Information and Communication), as well as of the vice-minister of Culture and Tourism, and of a group of businessmen been interested in Spain.
According to the forecasts, Roh and his wife will be got tomorrow, on Monday, by the Kings, and in the evening the president surcoreano will visit the fair Expo Corea 07 that it assembles to approximately 60 Korean companies interested in stimulating relations with Spain, before being present at the dinner of show that Don Juan Carlos and Dona Sofia will offer in his honor in the Royal Palace.
On Tuesday, the president of South Korea will support a meeting work with Rodríguez Zapatero, will come to an act in the Town hall of Madrid and will meet the Korean community established in Spain.
On Wednesday, the King will accompany Roh in the inauguration of the XVIII meeting of the businessman's bilateral committee España-Corea, before the Korean president visits the Senate and the Congress.
Besides, the agent chief executive surcoreano will visit the Prado Museum and the Center of Art Queen Sofia and he will represent, together with the Kings to a special inauguration of the Fair of ARCO, which this year has selected as country invited to Korea.
Roh will leave Madrid next 14th course to Italy for a stay of three days, in which he will visit the Pope and will meet the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano and the prime minister, Romano Prodi.