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Park leaves for France for state visit to boost ties

All News 16:00 June 01, 2016

By Kim Kwang-tae

NAIROBI, June 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye left for France on Wednesday after wrapping up her swing through three African countries meant to boost business opportunities with the region.

This marks the first state visit to France by a South Korean president in 16 years. The trip came as South Korea and France prepare to celebrate the 130th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Park is set to meet with her French counterpart, Francois Hollande, on Friday -- the fourth such meeting between the two leaders -- to reaffirm their friendship and boost their partnership.

The two leaders are expected to strengthen close coordination in enforcing the toughest U.N. sanctions ever imposed on North Korea over its fourth nuclear test and its long-range rocket launch earlier this year. France is one of the five permanent veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council.

On Tuesday, North Korea's latest attempt to launch an intermediate-range ballistic missile ended in failure.

The missile launch is widely seen as North Korea's latest defiance against the U.N. sanctions. North Korea is banned from launching ballistic missiles under U.N. resolutions.

South Korea and France are set to ink cooperation deals to create new growth engines for their economies.

Park and Hollande are also scheduled to adopt a joint declaration to mark the 130th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, a move that Seoul says could be an important milestone in boosting bilateral cooperation.

Last year, Park visited Paris to attend the U.N. climate change summit.

Park arrived from Nairobi, where she met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and they agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in business and trade.

The trip has already taken her to Ethiopia and Uganda.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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