President Park Geun-hye departed on Sept. 20 for state visits to Canada and the United States. She is planning to stay in Canada until Sept. 22 and in the United States until Sept. 24 for the 69th United Nations General Assembly, the U.N. Climate Summit, and the U.N. Global Education First Initiative. This is the first time in 15 years that the Korean President has made a state visit to Canada.
The President will deliver a keynote speech at the general assembly on Sept. 24. She will speak about the Korean government’s commitment to contribute to the three agendas of international peace and security, human rights promotion, and economic and social development. Also, she is going to mention her master plan for Korean reunification based on the Korean Peninsula Trust-building Process and the Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative in order to ask for the understanding and support of the international community.
The specifics of her speech are drawing much attention, with North Korean human rights issues emerging as a key agenda of the general assembly. The growing number of atrocities being committed in the Middle East by ISIS has caused an increasing number of Western states to take a firm stance on human rights issues. Under the circumstances, human rights in North Korea is likely to be discussed as a major topic in the general assembly.
Her participation in the conference is highly meaningful as her debut in the U.N. since the inauguration in February last year. At the same time, it is expected to result in a higher standing of Korea as a member of the UN Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Human Rights Council that leads the discussion of global issues on climate change, fight against terrorism, and education and development.
The president is expected to have bilateral talks with some countries, too. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who suggested a summit meeting via former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori staying in Korea for the Asian Games, is scheduled to attend the general assembly as well, and thus summit talks could take place between Korea and Japan. Both the President and the Prime Minister are slated to join the U.N. Climate Summit on Sept. 23. Still, the possibility is low, because Japan is maintaining its conservative stance while showing no meaningful change regarding the history issue.
In the meantime, North Korean Foreign Minister Lee Su-yong will attend the general assembly for the first time in 15 years as a minister from Pyongyang. He is scheduled to make a keynote address on Sept. 27, but will arrive in New York as early as Sept. 20. He could meet with South Korean foreign affairs minister Yoon Byung-se, as both are staying together for six days. “I hope that North Korea will answer our request for a high-level meeting,” President Park Geun-hye had said on Sept. 16 at her interview with Reuters, adding, “I look forward to an opportunity for dialogue between foreign ministers of both Koreas.”
At the U.N. Global Education First Initiative, President Park will give a speech as a representative of the group of champion countries. There, she will speak about the Korean government’s education strategy and international contributions, while expressing Korea’s commitment to the education agenda for the future as the head of the country hosting the World Education Forum 2015.
Then, the President will participate in the U.N. Security Council conference on the topic of foreign terrorist combatants, which is hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama. As the first Korean President in the conference, she will remark on the necessity of international cooperation with and Korea’s contribution to the fight against foreign terrorist combatants in the Middle East.
On Sept. 23, she will attend the U.N. Climate Summit for political preparation for the new climate regime that will be effective from 2020. The Korean government’s endeavor for the creation of new economic growth drivers based on climate change response and its role as a bridge between advanced and developing economies in tackling climate change are to be explained there.
She will deliver four speeches and presentations during her visit to the U.N. The keynote at the U.N. General Assembly will be made in Korean, according to diplomatic customs. However, some of the others will be delivered in English.
Also scheduled are discussion sessions with major New York-based research institutions such as the Korea Society, the Asia Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Opinions as to the political situation in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia are to be exchanged, and Korea’s diplomatic and security policy will be introduced.
State Visit to Canada
Before her visit to the U.S., President Park will visit Canada from Sept. 20 to 22 at the invitation of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who visited Korea in March this year. She will meet with Canadian Governor General David Johnston and have summit talks with the Prime Minister so that both countries can achieve more constructive relations based on a bilateral FTA. After the summit for the discussion of energy resources utilization, scientific and technological development, cultural exchange and the like, she will visit Koreans residing in Canada and attend the Korea-Canada Business Symposium hosted by Korean and Canadian enterprises.
The list of the 48 economic delegation members to accompany her in Canada was finalized on Sept. 18. The members of the mission consist of entrepreneurs from various industrial sectors including automobiles, auto parts, machinery, energy development, alternative energy, cosmetics, and cultural content. The 13 public organizations and associations included in the delegation are expected to launch projects for two-way cooperation and assistance for smaller firms, too.
“President Park Geun-hye’s state visit to Canada at this time, which commemorates the 51st anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, will be a cornerstone of the bilateral relations for the next half century, in which both nations will be in pursuit of mutual prosperity,” the Presidential Office explained.
The members of the Economic Mission to Canada are as follows: Federation of Korean Industries Chairman Huh Chang-soo, Korea International Trade Association Chairman Han Duk-soo, Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry Chairman Park Yong-man, Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business Chairman Kim Ki-moon, Association of High Potential Enterprises of Korea Chairman Kang Ho-gap, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kang Ho-mun, Hyundai Motor Company President Jung Jin-haeng, Hanwha Corporation President Park Jae-hong, SK E&C President Choi Kwang-chul, LG International Corporation Representative Director Song Chi-ho, Korean Air President Ji Chang-hoon, Doosan Representative Director Park Sung-chul, GS Global President Jung Taek-geun, CJ Cheil Jedang Representative Director Kim Chul-ha, Tong Yang Moolsan Chairman Kim Hee-yong, Kyobo Life Insurance Chairman Shin Chang-jae, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering President Ko Jae-ho, Amore Pacific President Shim Sang-bae, SM Group/TK Chemical Chairman Wu Oh-hyun, Fashion Group Hyungji Chairman Choi Byung-oh, Komac Heavy Industries Representative Director Jo Bung-koo, Shinil Frame Representative Director Roh Sang-chul, World Innotec Representative Director Lee Han-wook, Daeho Industry Representative Director Ku Ja-ok, Autogen Chairman Lee Yeon-bae, Onegiup Representative Director Won Bu-sung, Mson Representative Director Lee Min-jae, Airvita Representative Director Lee Kil-soon, Daemo Engineering Representative Director Lee Won-hae, Bow Industrial Corporation Chairman Kim Myung-ja, Golf Zone Chairman Kim Young-chan, Samjin Industrial Representative Director Hwang Sun-bok, Keyyang Precision Representative Director Jung Byung-ki, Artcom Representative Director Choi Jin-woo, Seum Engineering Representative Director Kim Young-taek, Kumkang Corporation CTO Bang Man-hyuk, Eunsan Construction Chairman Kim Kyung-ok, HS International Representative Director Kim Byung-hoon, CRTech Representative Director Roh Sun-hee, Redrover Representative Director Ha Hoe-jin, Korea Electric Power Corporation President Jo Hwan-ik, Korea Trade Insurance Corporation President Kim Young-hak, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency President Oh Young-ho, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade President Kim Do-hoon, Korea Institute of Geoscience & Mineral Resources President Kim Kyu-han, Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology President Lee Ki-sup, Korea Instittue of Energy Technology Evaluation & Planning President Ahn Nam-sung, and Korea Association of Small & Medium Industry Chairman Park Sang-hee.