PM Fiala Meets South Korean PM Han In Prague To Discuss Ukraine and North Korea
Fiala hailed “excellent” relations between the Czech Republic and South Korea, which he described as an important economic partner. Credit: vlada.cz.
Prague, Sept 13 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala met South Korean counterpart Han Duck-soo in Prague yesterday, to discuss areas of possible economic cooperation between the two countries and shared foreign policy concerns, including North Korea and the war in Ukraine.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, PM Han said the Czech and Korean Republics were both concerned over the provocations on the part of North Korea, and that a strong response is needed from the international community.
The prime ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine, and agreed that both countries want to work towards ending the conflict and establishing peace.
North Korea has continued frequent ballistic missile tests this year, despite them being banned by UN Security Council resolutions. Last year, North Korea fired a record number of missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.
Han Duck-soo said after his talks with Fiala that both countries expressed serious concern over North Korea’s continued provocations, and that a strong response is needed from the international community. The countries also agree on the need for complete denuclearization of North Korea.
The two prime ministers also spoke about the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine. Han Duck-soo said they expressed concern over the prolongation of the war in Ukraine and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation. They agreed to actively engage in the international community’s efforts to end the conflict, establish peace and post-war reconstruction, the South Korean prime minister added.
In the field of economic cooperation, Fiala welcomed the interest of South Korean investors in plants to produce batteries for electric cars in the Czech Republic, which he said would be a contribution to the automotive industry.
“As well as the start of lithium mining in Cinovec, it would enable us to build a whole chain from this mining to the production of electric cars,” Fiala said.
Former Czech ambassador to South Korea Gustav Slamecka told CTK earlier this year that negotiations with South Korean partners have become more complicated by the US Inflation Reduction Act, which supports production connected with environmental transformation.
Fiala said the bids of the companies that wanted to build the new unit at the Dukovany nuclear power plant were being updated. He said he believed that they would be more concrete and improved in various aspects.
The three bidders for the contract to build the new power plant unit are Westinghouse (US), EDF (France) and KHNP (South Korea).
The CEZ power utility firm, which is majority owned by the Czech state, asked all three bidders in the spring to submit their final bids by mid-September.
Fiala said the development of the nuclear energy industry was important for Czech energy security, not only through the construction of new large reactors but also in the development of modular reactors.
He said Czech cooperation with South Korea may deepen in areas such as semiconductors, artificial intelligence and robotics.
Fiala also welcomed the interest of Korean firms in the construction of high-speed railway corridors in the Czech Republic. “We supported the creation of a Czech-Korean working group that would focus on effective transfer of technologies and mutual sharing of experience,” he said.
He said the relations between the Czech Republic and South Korea were excellent and the countries are important economic partners.
The value of mutual trade has been growing in recent years, and was CZK 118 billion last year, Fiala said. As South Korea exports more to the Czech Republic than the Czech Republic to Korea, there are a lot of opportunities for Czech entrepreneurs in the Korean market, he said. The two countries share the values of democracy, freedom and market economy, he added.
PM Han said they agreed on strengthening cooperation in electromobility, power industry, infrastructure and defence, and also wanted to diversify the present cooperation with hydrogen technologies and small modular reactors.