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  National
Hon. Gianni Vernetti Visits Both Koreas
Italian Undersecretary of State Pledges to Help N. Korea
Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gianni Vernetti

Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gianni Vernetti, paid an official visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 13th to 15th September. This event marks the first official visit in DPRK of a member of a European Government in the last couple of years. Furthermore, the visit, which will be followed by a mission in the Republic of Korea, took place in a period of great momentum in the developments of inter-Korean dialogue, and of the Six-Parties Talks. Vernetti praised the intention of both Koreas to hold a Summit next October. Italy, which has always played a peculiar role to favour the pacification and denuclearization of the Peninsula, strongly hopes that the Summit will lay the ground for increased cooperation and dialogue in the Korean Peninsula, and in the entire region. Italy also hopes that the meeting between the two leaders will decisively help the Six Parties Talks in their negotiations towards a nuclear-free Peninsula.

In DPRK Undersecretary of State Vernetti had extensive talks with the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, KIM Yong-Nam, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, PAK UI-Chun and with his counterpart, Vice Minister KUNG Sok-Ung. In Pyongyang Hon. Vernetti, reminding the peculiar role that Italy has played along the years for the pacification and denuclearization of the Peninsula, as well as for the strengthening of the inter-Korean dialogue, expressed the firm wish of the Italian Government that the Six Parties' Talks and dialogue between the two Koreas could positively continue and develop for the benefit of the entire region.

During his talks in Pyongyang, Hon. Vernetti also stressed the strong attention of all EU Countries and Italy on the sensitive topic of human rights, expressing the wish that DPRK could open more to dialogue and cooperation with the international community.

Hon. Vernetti expressed his deep sorrow for the losses caused by the recent flooding in DPRK and the toll it took on human life. To help DPRK people in these difficult circumstances, Italy has approved a special contribution of 1.000.000 euro in food aid, and other initiatives targeted to health care needs through the WHO and UNICEF channels.

Italy and DPRK agreed on a further enlargement of their longstanding cooperation in the health sector and education. In particular, important Italian contributions and initiatives in the field of childhood and mothers' care will be undertaken in cooperation with the World Health Organization and Unicef. In the case of the initiative through the WHO, the Italian contribution amounts to approximately 1 million euro.

Hon. Vernetti also visited the famous tombs of the Koguryeo period, since the Government of Italy decided to finance the restoration and preservation of one of them, for an amount of 750.000 euros.

It was also agreed to establish a teaching / lectorate of Italian language and literature at the University of Pyongyang, and some new scholarships for Korean students of Italian.

Gianni Vernetti Visits South Korea

Undersecretary of State of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Gianni Vernetti, paid an official visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea from 13th to 15th September and to the Republic of Korea from 16th to 18th September 2007. While it was the first official mission in DPRK of a member of a European Government in the last couple of years, the visit in the Republic of Korea confirms the important strengthening of the bilateral relations, which characterized the entire 2007. The mission of Hon. Vernetti in this region took place in a period of great momentum in the developments of inter-Korean dialogue, and of the Six-Parties Talks. Hon. Vernetti praised the intention of both Koreas to hold a Summit next October. Italy, which has always played a peculiar role to favour the pacification and denuclearization of the Peninsula, strongly hopes that the Summit will lay the ground for increased cooperation and dialogue in the Korean Peninsula, and in the entire region. Italy also hopes that the meeting between the two leaders will decisively help the Six Parties Talks in their negotiations towards a nuclear-free peninsula.


During his successful visit in the Republic of Korea, Hon. Vernetti had extensive talks with his counterpart, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, SHIM Yoon-Joe, and with Vice Minister for Unification, LEE Kwan Sei. Hon. Vernetti also had meetings with Minister for Foreign Affairs, SONG Min-Soon and with representatives of the Korean political parties, including the leader of the "United New Democratic Party," OH Chung Il , the President of the Korean-Italian Inter-parliamentary Friendship Association, Hon. KIM Young-Choon and other members of Parliament. Finally, Hon. Vernetti presided over the signature ceremony of a MoU between the University of Pisa Sant'Anna and the Korea Institute for Science and Technology and opened the new joint laboratory in Seoul of the two research Institutions.


The visit of Vice Minister Vernetti in Seoul was scheduled in order to carry out bilateral political consultations as agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding signed last February by both Countries' Ministers of Foreign Affairs: Massimo D'Alema and SONG Min-Soon. Vernetti's visit marks another step in the intense sequence of bilateral visits this year, starting with the visit in Seoul of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Massimo D'Alema, (February 2007), the visit of President ROH Moo-hyun in Rome (February 2007) and the one of Prime Minister Prodi and Minister for Trade Bonino in Seoul (April 2007). Talks offered the opportunity to underline synergies on major international issues, in particular on the reform of United Nations' bodies and other major global issues, such as Afghanistan, Lebanon, fight against terrorism, etc.. The two Parties could also appreciate the positive trend in bilateral trade and exchanges, since both Italy and Korea have a strong vocation towards the export and the internationalization of their economic systems. Hon. Vernetti and Deputy Minister SHIM also expressed their full support to the on-going negotiations for an ambitious and comprehensive EU-Korea FTA.

During his talks in Seoul, Hon. Vernetti also discussed several issues and projects concerning bilateral relations. In particular, the two Countries will work to favour the marketing of goods into each other's territory and discussed ways to launch a series of cultural events in Korea that should take place end 2008 or 2009 and should be dedicated to the Italian most renowned aspects, such as culture, design, music, and technology .

For details or inquires please contact the Italian Embassy in Seoul for Mr. GHIMB Hong rae or call him at 011-9777-9509.




 

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