From left to right, Charles Mitchell, Yoon Suk Yeol and Ursula von der Leyen appear before the press after their meeting in Seoul on May 22, 2023
Two senior European officials met in Seoul on Monday with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, with whom they discussed the Ukrainian conflict and North Korea’s weapons program.
This is the first visit of European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the East Asian country.
It coincides with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between South Korea and the European Union.
“South Korea and the European Union are important partners who share universal values of freedom, human rights and the rule of law,” Yoon said at a joint press conference after the meeting.
“During the past 60 years, cooperation has developed in all areas,” he said.
The leaders agreed to enhance cooperation against global threats, including the war in Ukraine and North Korea’s weapons programs, according to a joint statement.
He condemned North Korea’s “repeated illegal ballistic missile launches as well as references to its ongoing nuclear development and possible use of nuclear weapons” and expressed support for Seoul’s efforts to persuade Pyongyang to give up such weapons. expressed.
They also discussed “support to Ukraine to meet its financial, material, security and humanitarian needs,” the note read.
South Korea, the world’s ninth-biggest arms exporter, sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine and sold tanks and howitzers to Poland, an ally of Kiev in its fight against Russia’s invasion.
Seoul has a policy of not supplying arms to areas of active conflict, although Yoon has indicated this may change.
The leaders called for greater collective pressure on Russia and reaffirmed their commitment to support Ukraine.