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Leaders of S. Korea, Canada agree to cooperate on FTA, N. Korea

All Headlines 18:00 December 07, 2009

By Byun Duk-kun

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed joint efforts Monday to quickly sign a bilateral free trade deal and agreed to take steps to denuclearize North Korea.

"The two leaders agreed a Korea-Canada free trade agreement (FTA) would not only expand their trade relations, but also help upgrade their bilateral ties and vowed to work together to make progress in FTA negotiations," Seoul's presidential office said of a summit between the leaders held here.

The Lee-Harper meeting, the third of its kind this year, also focused on the global economic crisis as their countries are set to co-host a G-20 economic summit in Canada in June. South Korea will host the following meeting of the economic forum here in November.

President Lee stressed the importance of the G-20 summit, which was named the premier forum for international economic cooperation in September, in dealing with the global economic and financial crisis, according to his office, Cheong Wa Dae.

"(The president) proposed the two countries work closely together in preparing for the G-20 meetings and Prime Minister Harper expressed active support toward that end," Cheong Wa Dae said in a press release.

"President Lee expressed satisfaction over the development and strengthening of the special partnership between the two countries and noted they have worked closely together as two 'like-minded' nations in the international community that share common values and goals," it said.

The South Korean leader also expressed gratitude for Canada's active and continued efforts to help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

"Prime Minister Harper said he actively supported the efforts of South Korea and other related nations to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and said Canada, too, will continue to take part in international efforts to denuclearize North Korea," the press release said.

The two leaders were set to hold a joint press conference after their bilateral summit. They will later attend a state dinner at Cheong Wa Dae.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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