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(LEAD) S. Korea, Finland affirm close ties on peace, new industries

All News 18:48 June 10, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with results of summit talks; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

HELSINKI, June 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Finland reached summit agreements Monday to maintain close partnerships on Korea peace and expand bilateral economic ties, especially in connection with the fourth industrial revolution.

To that effect, the two sides will launch a new non-stop air route between Busan, South Korea's second-biggest city on its southeastern coast, and the Finnish capital of Helsinki, next year.

In talks here with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefed him on recent security conditions on the peninsula and requested the Nordic country's continued support for the Korea peace process, according to Moon's office.

Niinisto affirmed his country's "unswerving support" for Moon's initiative, citing its experience of leading the Helsinki process to ease tensions between the Soviet and Western blocs during the Cold War era.

Finland is slated to assume the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union at the start of July.

The leaders also discussed ways for strengthening cooperation in the ICT, defense industry, energy and health care fields.

"The leaders agreed to cooperate closely in various ICT sectors, such as 5G mobile communication, artificial intelligence, big data and IoT," Cheong Wa Dae said.

Finland is an importer of South Korea-made K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers. It has a US$150 million contract to buy 48 aged K-9s between 2017 and 2023.

They noted the deal to open the Busan-Helsinki air route would help both sides expand their various partnerships.

There are seven direct flights a day between Incheon and Helsinki.

Under the accord, Finnair, the flag carrier of Finland, will operate an airline service three times a week between Busan and Helsinki.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on aviation and three other MOUs intended to strengthen cooperation on energy, gender equality, startups, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Moon's Northern Europe tour started in the Finnish capital and will finish this coming weekend.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) shakes hands with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at their joint press conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on June 10, 2019. (Yonhap)


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