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S. Korea, Norway to deepen cooperation on autonomous ships, hydrogen use

According to Yonhap News,

(OSLO=Yonhap News) South Korea and Norway reached a summit deal Thursday on promoting partnerships in response to the fourth industrial revolution, especially on autonomous ships and hydrogen energy use.

President Moon Jae-in said he and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg have reaffirmed the "deep friendship" between the two sides and had discussions on a future vision.

"(We) discussed concrete ways to take the two countries' relationship a step forward," he said. "First, (we) have agreed to strengthen future-oriented, substantive cooperation to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution era," he said during a post-summit joint press conference.

The global shipbuilding powers will work together to develop "future-type, environment-friendly autonomous ships" and they will also cooperate closely on new technologies for the production, use and storage of hydrogen.

To that end, they have decided to launch a joint science and technology committee in 2020.

Solberg stressed that the two nations share fundamental values and are also important economic partners.

She said such a summit is a "catalyst for a lot of other activities" to lead to closer partnerships on various projects, such as smart cities and Arctic research.

Solberg shared with Moon her country's experience in resolving the air pollution problem through cooperation among neighboring countries.

"Learning Norway's wisdom, South Korea will pursue cooperation with neighbors more actively," Moon said.

On the occasion of the summit, the two sides signed a social security agreement for nationals working in the other country and a memorandum of understanding on hydrogen economy and low-carbon technology cooperation.

The prime minister pledged Oslo's firm and continued support for Seoul's peace initiative, according to Moon.

"I am convinced that my trip this time will become an important landmark in relations between the two countries and peace on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said.

He is the first South Korean president to pay a state visit to the Scandinavian nation. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the two countries' establishment of formal diplomatic ties.

"Norway is a longtime friend that provided help when South Korea was in need," the president said.

Norway dispatched a 623-member medical support team to Korea and operated a field hospital, known as NORMASH, during the 1950-53 Korean War. More than 90,000 soldiers and civilians in Korea received treatment from it.

Following the talks, Moon headed to Bergen, Norway's second-largest city, to inspect the local Navy's 26,000-ton logistics and support ship, KNM Maud.

Built by South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the vessel is a symbol of bilateral cooperation in the shipbuilding and defense industries.

Two-way trade trebled to around US$200 billion last year from 2006, when South Korea signed a free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Later in the day, Moon will fly to Sweden for a state visit, the last stop in his weeklong Northern Europe tour.

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Source: Yonhap News (June 13, 2019)

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