Yoon, Trudeau agree to strengthen cooperation on minerals for stable supply chains

OTTAWA, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met in Ottawa on Friday and agreed to increase cooperation on minerals and natural resources to help ensure stable supply chains.

The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues during their summit, including cooperation on technology, climate change, people-to-people exchanges and North Korea. In a joint statement, they announced that the countries will upgrade their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Today’s talks were very meaningful in that they came against a backdrop of a combination of challenges facing the international community, including a pandemic, supply chain disruptions and climate change,” Yoon said in a joint press conference after the summit.

“We agreed to strengthen cooperation between the two countries on economic security,” he continued, noting that both nations play important roles in global supply chains, with South Korea being a major producer of semiconductors and batteries and Canada is a top producer of minerals.

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“We plan to set up a minerals and natural resources cooperation system between the governments and companies of the two countries to ensure stable supply chains after the pandemic,” Yoon said.

The two sides will communicate closely through high-level diplomatic and trade channels to actively respond to “shocks caused by changes in the international order,” he added.

Yoon arrived in Canada the previous day for a two-day visit that took him first to Toronto for separate meetings with AI experts and Korean residents, and then to the Canadian capital for a summit with Trudeau on Friday.

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His visit comes ahead of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations next year.

Yoon said he and Trudeau also discussed future growth drivers and agreed to work together for a global digital transition by leveraging Canada’s expertise in artificial intelligence and South Korea’s digital innovations.

In addition, the two agreed to leverage their countries’ respective strengths in the production and supply of clean hydrogen to achieve a high degree of synergy in their pursuit of carbon neutrality by 2050.

With next year marking the 60th anniversary, leaders said they will mark 2024 and 2025 as years of cultural exchange.

“We have agreed to work closely together on North Korea’s denuclearization,” Yoon said.

The summit concluded Yoon’s three-nation swing that included the UK and US. Early Friday, he and First Lady Kim Keon-hee paid their respects to fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial before meeting with Governor General Mary Simon.

Canada sent the third-largest force of troops to South Korea’s side during the 1950-53 Korean War. Nearly 27,000 Canadian military personnel served as peacekeepers during both the combat and post-combat phases of the Korean War. 516 of them made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.

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