South Korea and the European Union affirmed their commitment to free, multilateral trade during a summit in Brussels on Friday amid surging protectionist threats from the U.S. Donald Trump administration.

During a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also agreed to step up their joint efforts to peacefully denuclearize North Korea and build peace on the Korean Peninsula, Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

The two leaders noted the relationship between South Korea and the EU has steadily improved since their free trade agreement, which took effect in 2011.

They "agreed to strengthen their joint efforts to further increase the mutually beneficial trade between South Korea and THE EU and to promote free, multilateral trade," Cheong Wa Dae said.

Moon asked Juncker to make sure the EU safeguard measures on steel imports do not adversely affect South Korea-EU relations.

They also agreed to work together for peace on the Korean Peninsula. "The EU side expressed its full support for South Korea's efforts to improve inter-Korean relations and establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, welcoming holding of the inter-Korean summits, and said it will continue to play its necessary role in the process to denuclearize the peninsula and establish lasting peace," the Cheong Wa Dae press release said.

The South Korean president arrived here Thursday following his visits to Paris, Rome and the Vatican. He will head to Copenhagen, the last leg of his five-nation European tour, later Friday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency