YOON SUK YEOL, President of the Republic of Korea, recalled the determined decision of the first United Nations Secretary-General, Trygve Lie, who viewed the armed invasion against the Republic of Korea as a challenge to world peace. Against this backdrop, he said that the war in Ukraine has deepened the division in values and ideologies within the international community. Additionally, it has deepened the economic repercussions of the pandemic, causing a contraction in the global economy and leading to food and energy crises in many parts of the world. In the face of today’s multifaceted global crises on an unprecedented scale, divides among countries are widening across various areas — including security, economy, technology, health, environment and culture.
Turning to the development divide, he said many countries around the world still lack essential infrastructure. However, development is unattainable without basic infrastructure such as water and sewage systems to process and supply drinking water, and energy facilities to provide electricity and health-care facilities to treat the sick. To narrow the development divide, countries with financial and technological capacities must assume responsibility. Despite this year’s fiscal austerity measures, his Government has raised its official development assistance (ODA) budget plan for 2024 by 40 per cent, he reported, noting that the funds will be allocated to foster development cooperation tailored to the needs of Seoul’s partner countries. The climate crisis is another challenge that exacerbates the economic divide between nations and impedes humanity’s sustainable development. On this “boiling Earth”, extreme weather events such as heatwaves, torrential rains and typhoons have become the norm. Climate change is causing geopolitical shifts in agriculture and fisheries, worsening the crises in countries vulnerable to food shortages.
To assist countries vulnerable to climate change in reducing their carbon emissions and accelerating their transition to clean energy, Seoul will scale up its green development assistance. In particular, it will contribute an additional $300 million to the Green Climate Fund. Further, it plans to play a leading role in bridging the digital divide, utilizing its strengths in information and communications technology (ICT). Citing the digital divide as “a major cause of economic divide”, he stressed that bridging it will be a positive attribute in resolving the challenges faced by the Global South. The Republic of Korea will support the digital transformation of countries with limited digital penetration and utilization. This, in turn, will enhance their citizens’ access to education, health care and financial services. To support the creation of an international organization under the United Nations and provide concrete directions for the development of artificial intelligence (AI) governance, Seoul plans to host a “global AI forum”.
He highlighted that, in line with its commitment to the “Ukraine Peace and Solidarity Initiative”, his Government will implement a comprehensive support programme that encompasses security, humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. Furthermore, it will actively support Ukraine’s reconstruction by providing $300 million in 2024, and a medium-to-long-term support package exceeding $2 billion. On Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programmes, he said they pose not only a direct and existential threat to his country, but also a serious challenge to peace in the Indo-Pacific region and across the globe. Moreover, he warned that if Pyongyang acquires the information and technology necessary to enhance its weapons of mass destruction capabilities in exchange for supporting the Russian Federation with conventional weapons, the deal will be a direct provocation, threatening the peace and security of not only Ukraine but also his country.
President Yoon Suk-Yeol of Republic of Korea on Wednesday said that if Russia helps the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) enhance its weapons programmes “the deal will be a direct provocation” and Seoul and its allies “will not stand idly by”.
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