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President Moon secures S. Korea's bid to be global vaccine production hub, expand cooperation with Europe Updated: 2021-06-18 14:44:25 KST

After his eight day long visit to Europe, including a stop in the UK for the G7 summit, President Moon said Thursday that while it was a physically exhausting schedule, he arrives home with great achievements and rewards under his belt for South Korea.
President Moon took to social media on his flight back, saying he was able to verify South Korea's enhanced international standing at the G7, enjoy the culture and art on offer in Vienna, and witness the will and passion in Spain for opening a new era.
His state visits to Austria and Spain as well as his time in the UK was seen as an opportunity to make South Korea's case that it can reliably be seen as a global vaccine production hub, and can expand cooperation with the G7 and Europe in the new industries in the post-COVID era.
President Moon focused on promoting South Korea's production capabilities during his time in Europe.
He said vaccine supplies could be sped up globally if South Korea was the main vaccine production hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
He not only made his case to world leaders, but also to the top executives of pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca and CureVac.
President Moon also focused on expanding the horizon of economic cooperation with Europe ahead of a post-pandemic global economic shift.
With Austria, South Korea agreed to cooperate in future industries such as hydrogen energy and 5G, and with Spain, they shook hands on strengthening relations by jointly expanding overseas construction deals.
In Spain, the two sides also discussed increasing people-to-people exchanges, including in regards to tourism.
One thing that may've disappointed President Moon was not being able to hold one-on-one talks with his Japanese counterpart during the G7 summit.
President Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga only exchanged short greetings in Cornwall, despite it being the first time for them to meet face-to-face since Suga took office.
There were also concerns the G7 appearance could hurt Seoul's relations with China, as the summit was seen in some quarters as a tool for the member states to keep a rising Beijing in check.
But a source at the Blue House says South Korea's push to develop a strategic partnership with China remains in play.
The top office says South Korea's enhanced international status was verified through its invitation to the G7 for a second year in a row, and for having the red carpet treatment in Austria and Spain during the respective state visits.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.
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