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Moon to leave for Italy for meeting with Pope Francis, G20 on Europe swing

All News 06:00 October 28, 2021

By Kim Deok-hyun

SEOUL, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in was set to leave for Italy on Thursday for a meeting with Pope Francis and a G20 summit with other global leaders expected to focus on tackling climate crisis and helping the world end the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Moon will meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss peace on the Korean Peninsula and efforts to end the pandemic.

Moon and Pope Francis are expected to exchange their wisdom to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and resolve pending global issues, such as pandemic, poverty and climate change.

Moon and the pope are "expected to exchange their opinions on ensuring peace between the two Koreas," a senior presidential official said in a briefing to preview the meeting.

The pope has called for peace on the peninsula and expressed a willingness to visit North Korea. Moon and the pope are also expected to discuss a possible visit by the pope to North Korea, according to the official.

On Saturday and Sunday, Moon plans to discuss with other world leaders ways to tackle the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and how to foster global economic recovery during the G20 summit.

In this file photo, President Moon Jae-in speaks at a meeting on carbon neutrality on Oct. 18, 2021. (Yonhap)

The pandemic and the climate crisis are expected to dominate the G20 summit, as COVID-19 is still undermining a fragile global economic recovery.

After Italy, Moon will visit Glasgow, Scotland, to attend the COP26, a United Nations climate summit, Monday and Tuesday.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be high on the agenda at the U.N. climate talks, where Moon will deliver a keynote speech.

Earlier this month, Moon finalized a decision for South Korea to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from the 2018 levels by 2030, sharply raising its previous goal as part of efforts to curb the pace of climate change.

Moon also confirmed South Korea will achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as the nation started tackling the challenge of responding to climate change and attaining sustainable growth simultaneously.

South Korea's decision to reduce emissions will be reported to the COP26 talks, officials said.

On the last leg of the trip, Moon will make a state visit to Hungary on Tuesday.

Hungary erected a monument in memory of the 25 South Koreans killed in the 2019 deadly boat sinking in Budapest. The memorial stone was set up near the accident site in the Danube River, where the Korean tourists aboard a sightseeing boat went missing after the vessel collided with a bigger cruise ship.

On Tuesday, Moon will visit the site and pay tribute to the victims, the presidential office said.

Moon will hold bilateral meetings with Hungarian President Janos Ader and Prime Minister Viktor Orban next Wednesday.

In Budapest on Nov. 4, Moon will hold a summit with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia in the second summit between South Korea and the so-called Visegrad Group.

The Visegrad Group is the second-largest market in Europe, and the visit is expected to help South Korean firms make inroads into the European market in the fields of electric cars and batteries.


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