Park praises EU efforts on N. Korea, seeks closer biz ties with India, Middle East
South Korean President-elect Park Geun-hye praised the European Union (EU)'s efforts to resolve the humanitarian crisis in North Korea, and expressed hope for closer economic ties with India and the Middle East as she held a series of meetings with their top envoys Tuesday.
In her meeting with EU Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski, Park thanked the envoy for the EU's efforts to improve the human rights situation in North Korea and for delivering "transparent" aid to the impoverished nation.
"I hope to see the EU play a role in resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula," she said, adding that the EU's experience at achieving integration could be applied to bring peace to the two Koreas as well as to the surrounding region.
Park said she was pleased with how relations between the EU and South Korea have developed over the past half-century, especially since their free trade agreement took effect in 2011.
Quoting a passage from the book, "The European Dream," by Jeremy Rifkin, the president-elect also said South Korea, like the EU, aims to prioritize quality of life over accumulation of wealth, community over individual freedom, and sustainable growth over infinite growth.
In her meeting with Indian Ambassador Vishnu Prakash, Park highly evaluated their countries' growing interdependence in trade and foreign and security issues over the past 40 years.
"I hope to see stronger cooperation for our mutual growth in areas such as nuclear power generation and various infrastructure projects," Park told the envoy.
Prakash congratulated Park on her election, calling it a "history victory," and asked that she visit India.
Later in the day, Park met with a group of ambassadors from countries in the Middle East and credited their nations with helping South Korea's rapid economic development in the 1970s.
The president-elect was referring to a period when South Korean workers took part in construction projects in the Middle East in order to send money back home.
"I believe South Korea and Middle Eastern nations have complementary economic structures, making them optimal cooperation partners," Park told the group of 13 ambassadors from countries including Qatar, Egypt and Iran.
"I understand that South Korean firms are involved in a lot of work in the Middle East ... If you could take even more interest in those firms, then I believe our countries could achieve much more together."
Park also promised the envoys that South Korea will work to bring peace to the Middle East during its term as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, which started this year.