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(LEAD) Finance ministers of S. Korea, France vow stronger cooperation

All News 21:42 June 02, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with reports of Seoul's move to join the "Paris Club" in paras 7-11; CHANGES dateline)

SEOUL/SEJONG, June 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and France have agreed to further strengthen their economic cooperation, also joining forces to tackle uncertainties in the global financial market, the Seoul government said Thursday.

The agreement came at a meeting between South Korean Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho and his French counterpart Michel Sapin in Paris, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The bilateral meeting was held on the sidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development meeting in the French capital.

"Minister Yoo and Minister Sapin agreed that South Korea and France, as co-chairs of the G20 working group of global financial system, will work closely together to ensure stability and development of the global financial system," the ministry said in a press release.

"Minister Yoo especially pointed out a need to strengthen global financial safety nets to deal with risks currently facing the global economy and growing fluctuations in the financial market," it added. "Minister Sapin expressed his strong agreement."

The Yoo-Sapin meeting came on the eve of a summit between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her French counterpart Francois Hollande, also to be held in Paris, at which the two heads of state were widely expected to urge joint efforts to address various international and regional issues, including recent military provocations from communist North Korea.

Ministry officials later noted the South Korean president was expected to file an official request for her country to become a full member of the so-called Paris Club at the summit.

The Paris Club is an association of creditor countries, whose major aim is to find sustainable solutions to payment difficulties faced by debtor countries.

South Korea is already an ad hoc participant of the group that currently has 20 full members, including Japan and the United States.

"Becoming a full member will mean the country will be recognized as an advanced, creditor nation only 19 years after it faced the 1997 Asian financial crisis," the ministry said.

Ministry officials noted a full membership will help improve the country's ability to recover its public loans to other countries, while also strengthening its position in the global financial system and the group whose decisions, including debt rescheduling schemes for debtor countries, require unanimous votes.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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