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Leaders of S. Korea, Austria discuss ways to strengthen ties

All Headlines 15:47 February 14, 2019

SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz discussed ways to improve their countries' bilateral ties Thursday, along with their joint efforts to tackle various global issues, including the denuclearization of North Korea.

In a summit held at Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, the two leaders also sought ways to expand the countries' economic cooperation.

"I highly welcome the fact that South Korea and Austria have developed their friendly cooperative relationship over the years while sharing common values, such as democracy and human rights, as close friends," Moon said at the start of their summit.

Moon also congratulated the Austrian leader for being named one of the 10 next generation leaders by U.S. Time magazine, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) holds talks with the visiting chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, at his office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Feb. 14, 2019. (Yonhap)

Kurz expressed hope for increased trade between the countries, noting their bilateral trade currently stands at about US$2 billion.

"I also wish my visit to South Korea will be an opportunity to further expand our exchanges in economic, political and academic areas between South Korea and Austria," he was quoted as saying through his interpreter.

Kurz, who is the world's youngest head of government, arrived here earlier in the day, becoming the first Austrian chancellor to visit South Korea in 19 years and the first ever to visit for a bilateral summit, Cheong Wa Dae said.

The Austrian leader is set to hold talks with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon later in the day. He will leave the country Friday.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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