S. Korea, US senior officials discuss economic cooperation in APAC

By Park Han-na
  • Published : Nov 6, 2019 - 17:33
  • Updated : Nov 6, 2019 - 17:33

South Korea and the US held a joint public-private economic forum to discuss ways to strengthen their economic ties and enhance cooperation on issues of common interest, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

The fourth Republic of Korea-United States Senior Economic Dialogue was held in Seoul on Wednesday to take stock of the progress and explore avenues of further cooperation between the two countries, particularly in line with Seoul’s New Southern Policy and Washington’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. 

South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho shakes hands with US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach during the 4th Republic of Korea-United States Senior Economic Dialogue, held in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and Keith Krach, undersecretary of state for economic growth, energy, and the environment, led their respective delegations.

“This dialogue has served as a valuable platform to advance our partnership into new areas of cooperation. From deepening our bilateral trade and investment relations to exploring new avenues including regional and global issues,” Lee said in the meeting.

The two countries affirmed the strength of their economic relationship during the meeting. South Korea is now the US’ seventh-largest trading partner and the US is South Korea’s second-largest trading partner.

“The economic relationship (between the two countries) extends far beyond trade and investment. It really extends to the global economic security area. That is so critical. Especially in times like this, to be able to leverage the power and innovation and resources in the private sector -- I know we’re very like-minded on that,” Krach said.

Building on the strong foundation of existing bilateral economic ties, both sides shared a commitment to forge a broader strategic economic partnership that encompasses cooperation on development, infrastructure, science and technology, digital connectivity, energy, and smart cities, according to a joint statement released after the meeting.

To achieve their goals, the two sides have put cooperative efforts under their respective New Southern Policy and Indo-Pacific Strategy. Such efforts include their cooperation on designing new tools to enhance the management of water resources in the Mekong region to improve mitigation of floods and droughts.

The delegations also held in-depth discussions on various ways to expand cooperation on global issues including health security, environmental protection and women’s economic empowerment. They shared a commitment to advancing substantive cooperation through the Senior Economic Dialogue platform.

Some 24 US government officials and business representatives, including Marc Knapper, deputy assistant secretary for Korea and Japan, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Meale as well as David Bohigian, executive vice president of Overseas Private Investment Corp., attended the meeting.