SEOUL: South Korea and Canada agreed to boost cooperation on crucial supply chains and work more closely to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear threats after their leaders met in Seoul on Wednesday (May 17).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – on his first official visit to South Korea, and the first by a Canadian leader in nearly a decade – met President Yoon Suk Yeol for a summit on Wednesday afternoon.
After the talks, Yoon said the pair had agreed to “deepen cooperation” on supply chains, especially for critical minerals used in electric vehicle batteries, which Canada has reserves of and which are needed by South Korea’s car manufacturers.
The two leaders also discussed regional security and condemned North Korea’s banned nuclear program, Yoon told a joint press briefing, following another record-breaking year of missile launches by Pyongyang’s Kim Jong Un.
Trudeau offered Seoul support in its plans to “achieve a denuclearised, peaceful, unified and prosperous Korean Peninsula”, as well as more cooperation on security, according to a statement released by both governments.
“This support includes the augmentation of Canada’s naval presence and participation in multinational operations in the region,” it said.
The two countries, which already have “deeply rooted people-to-people ties”, also announced a new program designed to give Korean and Canadian young people “increased work and travel opportunities” in the other country.
Earlier, Trudeau had told South Korean lawmakers that the two countries needed stronger ties as the world was facing a moment of unprecedented uncertainty, with lingering consequences from the COVID-19 pandemic, rising living costs, and the “real and terrifying” effects of climate change and war.
“I’m here to tell you that it’s no longer enough to be friends. We need to be the best of friends,” Trudeau said during a speech to Seoul’s National Assembly.