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Yoon seeks German president's understanding on postponed state visit

Feb. 20, 2024 - 20:24 By Yonhap
President Yoon Suk Yeol arrives at a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol spoke by phone with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday and asked for his understanding regarding his decision to postpone his state visit to the European country, Yoon's office said.

Yoon was planning to visit Germany and Denmark this week but postponed the trip four days before his scheduled departure. The presidential office did not give an official reason, though there was speculation the decision reflected his need to focus on domestic issues and avoid further controversy surrounding first lady Kim Keon Hee ahead of the April parliamentary elections.

Yoon explained in the phone call that "he could not help but postpone the visit to Germany for various reasons, including focusing on domestic livelihood issues, and requested the understanding of the German side," his office said in a press release.

"President Steinmeier said he fully understands our position and that he sincerely hopes to reschedule President Yoon's visit to Germany at an appropriate time through consultations between the two sides," it added.

The two leaders took note of a joint advisory on North Korean cybersecurity threats that was announced Monday despite the visit's delay, and agreed to continue to pursue bilateral cooperation projects and develop cooperation especially in the security, advanced technology and cyber fields, according to the presidential office.

"The two leaders agreed to further closely develop the two countries' friendly cooperative ties maintained for more than 140 years, and to continue to hold frequent phone calls and closely communicate," the office said.