German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Sunday warned of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile tests, as Germany prepares to sign an agreement with South Korea to boost defense cooperation.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol announced the agreement on Sunday during Scholz’s visit to Seoul. He said it aims to protect military secrets and help “smoothly operate the defense industry’s supply chain.”
Scholz said North Korea’s ballistic and missile tests are a sign of a “still dangerous situation” on the Korean peninsula. He urged Pyongyang to stop conducting the tests, calling them a “threat to peace and security in the region.”
Scholz traveled to South Korea on Sunday, after attending the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
He is the first German chancellor to visit the South Korean capital for a bilateral meeting in 30 years.
The talks focused on geopolitical and economic issues
Scholz met with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol in Seoul. Security challenges in the Indo-Pacific, climate change and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were on the agenda during the talks.
Economic relations are also considered an important goal of the visit, because Berlin seeks to reduce Germany’s economic dependence on China and expand relations with other Asian countries.
Scholz said he hopes South Korea will invest in his country for chip production. He added that the two countries will work to improve their trade relations, especially in the fields of high-tech and clean energy.
South Korea is the fourth largest economy in Asia after China, Japan and India.
Yoon met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the G7 event in Hiroshima this past week.
“From now on, I hope South Korea and Germany will further expand reciprocal and future-oriented cooperation and strengthen unity for peace and prosperity in Europe and Asia,” Yoon said in opening remarks at the meeting with said Scholz.
Scholz made a ‘moving’ visit to the demilitarized zone
The chancellor also visited the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the Korean Peninsula.
Together with his wife Britta Ernst, Scholz visited the blue barracks of the DMZ along the border with North Korea, where the armistice agreement concluded in July 1953 was negotiated after three years of war.
He said that the visit to the border is very important and works to see the German division between 1949 and 1990.
“Germany now meets again. That is a great luck that we have.” A visit to the Korean border shows how lucky it is, he added.
rmt, wd/mm (AFP, dpa)