We, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea (ROK), met today in Ottawa to celebrate and cement a vibrant friendship that is reflected in the depth and diversity of our relationship.
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of Canada-ROC diplomatic relations in 2023, we recognize that we are a special friendship forged together through war, human ties, a mutual commitment to multilateralism, the rules-based international order and global trade and driven by a shared spirit of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
Canada and the ROK have long been like-minded partners on issues of peace and stability. Canada stood with the ROK during the Korean War, defending not only its people but also the international order that we were building and that was embodied in the United Nations. Since then, we have worked together to protect and strengthen democracy, security and human rights, including the rights of women and girls, in the region and around the world. We reaffirm our common goal of full denuclearization of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). President Yoon outlined the Republic of Korea’s bold initiative, and Prime Minister Trudeau expressed his strong support for President Yoon’s efforts to achieve a denuclearized, peaceful and prosperous Korean peninsula.
Our peoples have also built strong bonds. Many Canadians and Koreans live, work and study across their borders, creating vibrant communities, families and businesses, becoming an integral part of our cultural fabric and strengthening our friendship. Similarly, many of our students have lived or studied at each other’s world-class universities, creating a strong network of friends between Canada and the ROK.
Our long friendship, highlighted by the establishment of the Canadian Embassy in Korea in 1973 and the Korean Embassy in Canada in 1965, was strengthened more recently when we established the Canada-Republic of Korea Strategic Partnership and subsequently the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and the Republic of Korea (FTA) and Cooperation Agreements on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). These agreements have been an important part of our enduring friendship, increasing trade and economic prosperity between our two countries and facilitating collaboration between our most innovative researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs.
Now more than ever, Canada and the ROK—Canadians and Koreans—are ready to modernize our bilateral relationship and act together to advance our shared values. Today we are upgrading our bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership based on the following five shared priorities in the areas of values, security, prosperity, sustainability and beyond.
- Defending the rules-based international system, democracy, freedom, human rights and gender equality
- Strengthening security and defense partnerships, including peacekeeping and maritime security
- Strengthen economic prosperity and security, collaborate on supply chains, critical minerals and ST&I, and promote trade and investment
- Combating climate change and the environment, supporting energy security and developing sustainable energy sources
- Deepening partnerships in health and culture
To begin the implementation of our comprehensive strategic partnership, we are pleased to jointly launch the new annual Canada-ROK Climate Change Dialogue, the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Defense Materials Cooperation between the ROK Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA ) and the Canadian Department of Defense (DND), and the renewal of the Industrial Technology and Innovation Partnership Memorandum of Understanding between the Korea Institute for Advanced Technology (KIAT) and the National Research Council Canada (NRC).
Today we agreed to work towards launching a high-level dialogue on economic security involving the ministries of foreign affairs and industry. Recognizing the increasingly important link between economic interests and security, we also commit to addressing economic security challenges through enhanced cooperation and coordination. This includes deepening our strategic partnership on supply chain resilience. We will strive to position both countries as globally competitive players in the critical minerals supply chain and in the battery and electric vehicle value chain, in a way that promotes our collective prosperity and safety while raising labor and environmental standards . To this end, we have agreed on the need to develop a Memorandum of Understanding in the coming months to enable the build-up of value chains in Canada and Korea to support the clean energy transition and energy security, including in relation to critical minerals . We also agreed on the need to strengthen the bilateral Joint Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (ST&I).
We are also committed to strengthening ST&I cooperation in emerging technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence (AI) and next-generation networks beyond 5G) and exploring future opportunities for bilateral cooperation on AI and at the same time mechanisms to identify to drive collaborative innovation for the benefit of all citizens. In addition, we recognize the importance of ensuring mutual economic prosperity and commit to exploring ways to encourage bilateral trade and investment to ensure the creation of well-paying jobs in both economies.
We recognize with appreciation the contributions our Working Holiday program has made to fostering personal exchange and will continue to seek ways to renew it. In recognition of the approaching 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and the ROK, we have designated 2024-2025 as the Year of Canada-ROC Cultural Exchange.
As we mark the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic ties next year, and as we strengthen cooperation through our upcoming Indo-Pacific strategies, we look forward to working together on several key initiatives under our shared priorities to advance the comprehensive strategic partnership between Canada and fully implement Korea.
Expressing his gratitude for Prime Minister Trudeau’s warm welcome and hospitality, President Yoon extended a sincere invitation to visit the ROK, and the Prime Minister accepted with gratitude, an opportunity that promises another leap in bilateral relations to mark the 60th anniversary.