Strong partnerships for difficult times. At work for Korea and Iran

Strong partnerships for difficult times. At work for Korea and Iran

I write after one week of official visits to Asia and Oceania, starting in Singapore (I already wrote about it here) then in South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. My visit to South Korea started at the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas. The European Union continues to accompany the ongoing negotiations, both on inter-Korean reconciliation and on the full de-nuclearisation of the peninsula. With Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa, the Minister of Unification Cho Myung-gyun and the director of intelligence Suh Hoon we discussed how to deepen and expand our support to the talks in this important and delicate moment, under President Moon’s and his government’s leadership. We also discussed the excellent cooperation among our countries, and how to fully explore our free trade agreement’s potential. Here is the press release, and here is the press conference. While I was in Korea, on August 6th, the new US sanctions against Iran entered into force, after the United States’ decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal’s implementation. In this moment, as we work to solve North Korea’s nuclear issue, it is essential not to open another nuclear crisis with Iran – a crisis we closed in 2015 after twelve years of difficult negotiations, reaching a deal that has so far been fully implemented as verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency in eleven reports. For us Europeans, as for the rest of the international community, preserving this deal is a vital matter of security and nuclear non-proliferation. So our response has been immediate: we activated the “blocking statute” protecting European firms from the extraterritorial effects of US...
A visit to Asia-Pacific: so distant, so close

A visit to Asia-Pacific: so distant, so close

I write as I travel from Singapore to Seoul, the first two stops of an official visit to Asia-Pacific: I will then head to New Zealand and Australia. This region is geographically distant from Europe, but it is crucial to our security and our economy, and we have developed great cooperation on all the main global issues. During the last two days I was in Singapore for the annual meeting of South-East Asia’s countries, for the ASEAN regional forum, and for the European Union-ASEAN ministerial meeting. South-East Asia is literally at the other side of the world. But we share the same vision of international relations, of multilateralism, of trade, of preventing radicalisation and fighting terrorism, of the fight against climate change –just to mention the main files in our cooperation, which is getting closer and closer (here is an article about it on EUobserver). We work side by side with our partners in Asia-Pacific to accompany the negotiations to de-nuclearise the Korean peninsula. We are striking trade deals with the main regional economies, to protect our firms and create new opportunities. In our globalised world, Asia’s peace, security and economic growth are essential for Europe too. Here is my speech opening the EU-ASEAN meeting, here is my conversation with students from the Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and here is my interview to Singapore’s Business Times. I was welcomed to Singapore by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. With the Foreign Ministers of China, Wang Yi, and of Japan, Taro Kono, we discussed how to strengthen even further our bilateral cooperation after the two summits we just held...