ROME, Oct. 17 (Yonhap) -- The following is the full text of a joint press statement issued by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after their bilateral summit in Rome on Oct. 17, 2018.

Italian Republic-Republic of Korea Summit

Joint Press Statement

Rome, October 17, 2018

1. President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) paid an official visit to Rome on 16th � 18th October 2018. President Moon met President Sergio Mattarella of the Italian Republic (Italy) on 17th October, and subsequently held the summit with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, engaging in an in-depth discussion on matters of mutual interest including the overall bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues.

I. Elevating the Bilateral Relationship to a Strategic Partnership

2. Building on the enduring partnership that has developed between the two countries over the last 134 years, underpinned by the common values of democracy, human rights and rule of law, the two Leaders jointly decided to elevate the bilateral relationship to the level of a "Strategic Partnership" with a view to further strengthening overall relations and cooperation in political, economic, cultural and scientific fields as well as at regional and international arenas including the UN, OECD, ASEM and G20.

3. In this regard, the Leaders decided to upgrade the mechanism of bilateral consultations, envisaged in the Protocol between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs on enhanced policy consultations signed on October 5th 2000 and establish the "Italy-ROK Strategic Dialogue". They also agreed to hold the first session of the "Italy-ROK Strategic Dialogue" next year.

4. Recognizing defense cooperation as an important element of the comprehensive bilateral relationship, the Leaders welcomed the signing of the "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Government of the Italian Republic on Defense Cooperation" on the occasion of President Moon's official visit to Rome, and agreed to further expand the fields of their cooperation in this respect.

II. Bolstering Economic, Cultural Ties and People-to-People Exchanges

5. The Leaders reaffirmed their intention to exert common efforts to expand bilateral trade and investment, and welcomed economic consultations between relevant institutions of the two countries, and in particular, the launch of the 'Strategic Meetings for Bilateral Cooperation in Industry and Energy' to discuss comprehensive industrial cooperation between the two countries. They also agreed to hold the first session of the Strategic Meetings in 2019.

6. Reaffirming the need to elevate two-way trade and investment linkages to their full potential, the Leaders pledged to continue to foster an enabling environment. They also committed to support various common efforts, such as exchanging business delegations and jointly hosting business forums, with a view to strengthening closer economic ties including in the MSME sector. They also underlined the importance of promoting cooperation in innovative industry to help produce high-value products and services and create high quality jobs.

7. Recognizing the value of the ongoing bilateral cooperation in the field of science and technology, the two Leaders welcomed the decision to increase the funds and the number of the joint research projects in the framework of the next Executive Program 2019-2021 in areas such as basic science, ICT, nano-science, robotics, energy and environment, agri-food, marine science and biotechnology. They also agreed to pursue closer cooperation, in preparing for the 4th Industrial Revolution through the 6th Science and Technology Forum, scheduled for November 12-14, 2018 in Turin, Italy.

8. In view of the ever growing number of Koreans visiting Italy and of Italians visiting Korea, the Leaders welcomed the signing of the "Air Services Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Republic of Korea" on the occasion of President Moon's official visit to Rome, which will facilitate the growth of bilateral business, tourism and people-to-people exchanges. In line with growth on people-to-people exchanges, the Leaders agreed to maintain close consular cooperation including sharing related experiences and best practices.

9. Based on the shared interests in promoting cultural exchanges and cooperation to deepen mutual understanding, the Leaders welcomed the resumption of the Joint Cultural Committee between the two governments for the first time in 20 years. Among other examples of bilateral cultural cooperation, the Leaders welcomed the ongoing projects in the field of cultural heritage management and conservation between the Italian High Institute for Restoration and Conservation and the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage. In addition, recognizing Italy's leadership in the field of restoration, the Leaders acknowledged that Hanji (Korean traditional paper) could also be used for restoring cultural heritage on the basis of the cooperation between ICRCPAL and National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. They also referred to the possibility of exploring cooperation over the disaster management of cultural heritage using ICT technologies such as Internet of Things, Big Data and looked forward to further progress in this field.

10. Identifying education as one of the key areas of bilateral engagement, the two Leaders agreed to expand student exchanges and university cooperation and promote Korean studies in Italy and Italian studies in the ROK. In this vein, they welcomed the opening of a Korean reference room, funded by the ROK government and named as the "Window on Korea" in La Sapienza University in Rome and the activities in various Universities in Seoul of the lectureship of Italian language, funded by the Italian government.

III. Cooperation on regional and global issues

11. The Leaders engaged in an extensive exchange of views on the situation in Asia, including the Korean Peninsula, and in Europe, and on global issues such as climate change and migration.

12. Prime Minister Conte welcomed and expressed full support for the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by President Moon through the three inter-Korean Summits to advance inter-Korean relations and achieve complete denuclearization and work towards permanent peace in the Korean Peninsula. President Moon highly appreciated Italy's consistent support for and contribution to the process of peacefully resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula. The two Leaders shared the view that the denuclearization must be achieved in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

13. The Leaders reaffirmed their support to the efforts of the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) of the United Nations Ghassan Salame. In line with his Action Plan presented in September 2017, they renewed the support to the stabilization of Libya, in order to bring the Country out of the long transition phase, through an inclusive Libyan-led political and reconciliation process within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement.

14. The Leaders expressed deep concern about the threat of protectionism in the world and affirmed strong support for free, fair and rules-based trade and multilateralism. The Leaders will further strengthen their shared commitment to the expansion of mutually beneficial, free and multilateral trade.

15. In this regard, the Leaders acknowledged the role of the existing Free Trade Agreement between the ROK and the EU and agreed on the need to strengthen its implementation.

Noting that major global issues cannot be resolved by an individual country, the Leaders agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the international fora, including the G20. In particular, they shared a common understanding that migration flows represent a global challenge and need a structural and multilevel response. The Leaders, recognizing that climate change is a pressing task which constitutes an imminent challenge now facing humanity, reaffirmed their commitment to jointly tackle climate change. Moreover, acknowledging the importance of the transition toward a low carbon society, they confirmed their commitment to fully and swiftly implement the Paris Agreement. The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a shared reform of the UN Security Council and agreed on strengthening the cooperation on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: Yonhap News Agency