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(2nd LD) Moon arrives in Rome for meetings with Pope Francis, G-20 on Europe swing

All News 00:00 October 29, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with arrival; CHANGES lead, headline, dateline; ADDS new photo)
By Kim Deok-hyun

ROME, Oct. 28 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in arrived in Rome on Thursday for a meeting with Pope Francis and a Group of 20 summit with other global leaders expected to focus on tackling the climate crisis and helping the world end the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook wave upon arrival in Rome on Oct. 28. (Yonhap)

The meeting with the pope, set for Friday at the Vatican, is expected to touch on efforts to promote peace on the Korean Peninsula and resolve pending global issues, such as the pandemic, poverty and climate change, presidential officials said.

A possible papal visit to North Korea is expected to come up during the meeting as the pope has previously expressed a willingness to visit the North as part of efforts to promote peace on the divided peninsula, officials said.

On Saturday and Sunday, Moon plans to attend the G-20 summit to discuss with other world leaders ways to tackle the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how to foster the global economic recovery.

The pandemic and climate crisis are expected to dominate the 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 change conference, on Monday and Tuesday. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be high on the agenda at the 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 that 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 during the COP26 talks, officials said.

On the last leg of his 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 on the Danube River, where Korean tourists aboard a sightseeing boat went missing after the vessel collided with a larger cruise liner.

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 on Wednesday.

While in Budapest, Moon will hold a summit with the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia next Thursday in the second summit between South Korea and the Visegrad Group.

The Visegrad Group is Korea's second-largest trading partner and largest export market within the European Union. The visit is expected to help South Korean firms make inroads into the European market, especially in the fields of electric cars and batteries.


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