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Roh: “France Is Attractive for Being Different from the U.S.”

Roh: “France Is Attractive for Being Different from the U.S.”

Posted December. 07, 2004 23:02,   


On an official visit to France, President Roh Moo-hyun said on the morning of December 7 (local time) that North Korea has no other option than to give up its nuclear weapon experiments. He emphasized that abandoning nuclear weapons is the only way for North Korea to overcome its financial difficulties with help from the international community.

His statement came at a breakfast meeting held by the Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF), and Roh continued that the North Korean nuclear weapon issue will be peacefully resolved through six-party talks.

Regarding the current economic recession, Roh said that the Korean government will cope with the situation through aggressive yet flexible economic policies. Roh also said that he plans to boost the economy by investing primarily in social overhead capital.

At the meeting, over 70 French business leaders including Ernest-Antoine Seillière, the president of MEDEF, and more than 50 Korean CEOs were present.

Roh met with Jean-Louis Debré, the president of the National Assembly, and Christian Poncelet, the president of the Senate, that afternoon, and said that the French Revolution in the 18th century and the creation of the European Union in the 20th century were two of the France’s greatest accomplishments in the history of mankind.

Prior to this, Roh gave a speech at the University of Paris IV, La Sorbonne, on Monday afternoon. When asked by a student, “Isn’t Korea under an immense American influence?” Roh answered that some Americans might be disappointed, but he said that nobody should try to monopolize friends. He received a round of applause after he said, “The reason why we are fascinated by France is that the values that French strive for are different from those of the United States.”

Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon and his French counterpart Michel Barnier signed an agreement on the issue of social security for companies on Monday afternoon. Until now, Korean companies in France and French firms in Korea have paid social security fees to both countries. However, thanks to the agreement, they no longer have to pay the money to both countries. The agreement was reached eight years after the initiation of talks.

Roh concludes his three-day visit to France on December 7, will leave Paris from Orly Airport, and arrive in Korea on December 8.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com