22 September 2014
At the invitation of His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, the President of the Republic of Korea, President Park Geun-hye, undertook a State Visit to Canada from September 20 to 22, 2014.
During the State Visit, Prime Minister Harper and President Park underlined the robust bilateral relationship. They agreed that sustaining the prosperity, security and quality of life of citizens in each of our countries requires a strong economy.
President Park and Prime Minister Harper celebrated the signature of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and Korea, an historic initiative that will strengthen our trade and investment ties across the Pacific, increase the prosperity of both countries and result in job creation and enhanced opportunities for Korean and Canadian businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises, as well as investors, workers, and consumers. The FTA is an ambitious, state-of-the-art agreement, covering virtually all sectors and aspects of Canada-Korean trade, including trade in goods and services, investment, government procurement and intellectual property, as well as labour and environment cooperation. The leaders reaffirmed their mutual commitment to have the Agreement enter into force as quickly as possible.
The friendship between Canada and Korea has deep roots. Leaders welcomed the vigorous development of the bilateral relationship in recent years and acknowledged that it is time to raise it to a new level. To this end, they have undertaken to develop a new Strategic Partnership that will enhance cooperation based on the shared values of democracy, market economy, respect for human rights and rule of law. This Partnership will lay out a strategic direction for stronger relations in key areas of common interest including energy and natural resources, science, technology and innovation, and Arctic research and development.
As an element of this Strategic Partnership, leaders have undertaken to deepen exchanges and coordination and seek opportunities for more extensive cooperation on bilateral issues as well as global and regional issues, including global governance, prosperity, peace and security.
The leaders reaffirmed their desire for sustainable peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as envisioned in the Trust-Building Process initiated by President Park. In this regard, expressing grave concern over the continued ballistic missile launches by North Korea and its threat to conduct another nuclear test, they urge North Korea to refrain from any further provocative actions and abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including its uranium enrichment program in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. Further to this, Prime Minister Harper expressed his support for President Park’s initiative for peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula, which would contribute to promoting regional and international peace and prosperity. Prime Minister Harper and President Park also expressed concern over the continued deterioration in the human rights situation in North Korea and valued the international community’s attention to this issue, including the report recently released by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The leaders also emphasized the significance and role of regional dialogue and cooperation as a means of building trust in Northeast Asia, while Prime Minister Harper reaffirmed his support for President Park’s efforts to enhance peace and security and noted her recent efforts through her Northeast Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative.
In the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Korea and Canada on Development Cooperation signed in 2012, Prime Minister Harper and President Park agreed to make concerted efforts in contributing to the achievement of new development goals beyond 2015, recognizing that maternal, newborn and child health remain one of the key priorities.
Sharing the view that Canada and Korea, like-minded countries on many global issues, need to coordinate closely and take concerted action to address regional and global challenges, the two Leaders agreed to continue to further strengthen the existing ties of cooperation through multilateral fora such as the United Nations, APEC and the G20. Also, taking note of the increasing role of both countries in addressing global challenges of today, they agreed to share relevant experience and expand bilateral cooperation in this regard.
The two Leaders expressed continued appreciation for the growing exchanges between the peoples of the two countries, which have played an important role in the development of bilateral relations. President Park, in particular, reiterated her gratitude for the support and sacrifice of the Canadian people during the Korean War.
President Park’s State Visit to Canada this week follows the visit of Prime Minister Harper to Korea in March 2014. As strong economic partners, leaders were also pleased to witness the signature of the Open Skies air transport agreement and the signature of an MOU concerning Cooperation in the Field of Forestry. Given their common interest in innovation, the Leaders welcomed work on a memorandum of understanding on energy technology and the announcement of the intent to develop an Agreement on Science, Technology and Innovation that could be leveraged to increase people-to-people connections and industry collaborations in strategic areas of mutual interest.
As Strategic Partners, the Leaders look forward to a new era in bilateral relations.
President Park thanked Governor General Johnston and Prime Minister Harper for their warm hospitality during her State Visit to Canada.