Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and President Yoon

President Yoon Suk-yeol held a series of bilateral talks without a break throughout the day from the first day of his visit to New York, United States, to attend the United Nations General Assembly on the 18th (local time) to make an all-out effort to host the 2030 Busan World Expo.

President Yoon, who arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport at around 10 a.m. that day, embarked on an unprecedented march to meet with the leaders of six nations for just six hours until 4 p.m.

The official talks reportedly lasted about 6 minutes at a time.

The first country to talk to was Sri Lanka.

President Yoon held his first summit meeting since taking office with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasingha this afternoon and asked him to support the Busan Expo.

President Yoon said, "We look forward to working with Sri Lanka, a key partner in development cooperation, with the goal of a long-term partnership in the fields of development cooperation, labor, climate change response, and trade and investment."

He said, "We will continue to discover cooperative projects that contribute to the creation of jobs for young people, such as the 'Korea-Sri Lanka Central Vocational Training Institute.'"

In response, President Wickramasingha said, "Sri Lankans who have been trained in Korea are working in their homeland as high-skilled and high-quality laborers," adding, "I hope that the 'Trade and Investment Cooperation Agreement' with Korea will be pursued in the future to promote more active trade and investment between the two countries."

The two heads of state agreed to sign the Korea-Sri Lanka Climate Change Cooperation Agreement as soon as possible, which is currently under discussion.

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President Yoon then held a summit meeting with San Marino's consuls Alessandro Scarano and Adele Tonnini for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2000.

President Yoon said, "I hope that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for tourism cooperation with San Marino, which has a beautiful and clean natural environment, will be signed as soon as possible to promote exchanges in the tourism sector."

Accordingly, the two consuls look forward to creating the necessary legal framework for economic cooperation between the two countries, such as the Agreement on the Prevention of Double Taxation and the Agreement on Investment Guarantees."

The two consuls also mentioned the recent signing of a friendship agreement between San Marino and Pyeongchang County, and expressed hope to promote tourism, people-to-people exchanges, and trade exchanges.

San Marino is a landlocked Italian country with a population of just over 3,3 people, but as a member of the International Exhibition Organization (BIE), it has the right to vote on the venue of the Expo.

President Yoon also held a summit meeting with Burundian President Evarist Ndaisimem for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1991.

"Let's expand cooperation between the two countries in areas such as agriculture and health," President Yoon said, explaining his government's efforts to expand economic cooperation with the African continent as a whole.

In particular, we requested President Ndaisimam's interest and participation in the Korea-Africa Summit, which will be held in Korea for the first time next year.

President Ndaisimya responded by saying, "As Vice Chairman of the African Union (AU) and President of the East African Community (EAC), I will actively cooperate with the Government of the Republic of Korea."

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Next up was a summit with Czech President Petr Pavel.

President Yoon said, "The Republic of Korea and the Czech Republic have been closely cooperating since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990," and "I look forward to expanding cooperation in international issues such as the Korean Peninsula and Ukraine in the future."

He added, "We ask for the Czech side's interest and support for Korean companies to participate in the new Dukovany nuclear power plant," adding, "Let's seek cooperation in areas that the Czech Republic is focusing on, such as the development of the hydrogen economy and the construction of high-speed rail."

President Pavel said, "We hope to expand cooperation with Korea in the fields of energy, automobiles, and high-speed rail," adding, "The Czech Republic is a country rich in lithium resources, and we hope to cooperate with Korea in battery production."

He said, "We will also cooperate in supporting the reconstruction of Ukraine," and "we will actively support South Korea's activities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and jointly respond to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats."

He also praised President Yoon's leadership in normalizing Japan-South Korea relations.

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President Yoon met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and said, "The two countries have held the annual Green Growth Alliance Meeting since 2011 and have been closely cooperating in the field of green transition."

In May 2021, the relationship between the Republic of Korea and Sweden was upgraded to a "Comprehensive Green Strategic Partnership."

In his remarks, Prime Minister Frederiksen said, "In the future, we will further expand green cooperation between our two countries in various fields such as offshore wind power, eco-friendly ships, and sustainable agriculture, and we hope to further develop the Green Growth Alliance."

He said, "The recent handshake between the leaders of North Korea and Russia has caused deep concern in Europe," and they agreed to work together for security and peace on the Korean peninsula and in the region.

President Yoon also held a summit with Montenegrin President Jakob Milatovic for the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 5.

"Economic exchanges between the two countries are growing rapidly, with bilateral trade reaching a record high last year and copper ore imports from Montenegro increasing tenfold year-on-year," Yoon said.

In response, President Milatovic said, "I am particularly interested in cooperation in the energy sector, and I hope to seek cooperation with Korea's leading companies in the field of diversification of energy sources."

He also said, "Korea's support in the fields of information technology (IT) and cybersecurity is greatly helping Montenegro's technological development and infrastructure construction."

"Korea is the most important strategic country for Montenegro in the East Asian region," he said, adding that the two countries should pursue not only the "economic cooperation agreement" but also the "strategic agreement document" that the two countries are preparing.

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(Photo=Yonhap News)