UK Members have wide-ranging exchange with ROK counterparts
On 22 October, BGIPU hosted a virtual bilateral meeting between members of the UK Parliament and the Korean National Assembly. The meeting was co-chaired by BGIPU Chair, Harriett Baldwin MP and BGIPU Vice-Chair, Baroness Hooper CMG. They were joined by Yvonne Fovargue MP, Brendan O’Hara MP and Rt Hon Lord Dholakia. Their Korean counterparts were headed up by the leader of the Korean National Assembly’s delegation to the IPU, Dr Park Jin from the Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, who was joined by Ms Nam In-Soon from the Committee on Promotion of Women’s Political Engagement.
The meeting began with a short discussion on the upcoming IPU presidential election. The Koreans were keen to hear the UK views on this matter prior to making a final decision on their presidential choice. Following this, we moved on to the UK-Korea bilateral relations, focussing on trade and economics. Both parties recognised the value of the relationship and were keen to take on board areas in which this relationship could be further strengthened in a post-Brexit setting.
UK members were also eager to understand Asia-Pacific regional security concerns and to get to grips with the Korean role in managing relations between the US and China, also touching on the South’s fraught relationship with its northern neighbour. UK members were equally interested to get a greater insight into cultural developments in Korea, including a discussion on global influence of K-Pop and its ability to enhance Korea’s soft power and possibly even ease tensions in North-South relations. Members expressed mutual interest in further developing educational links between the UK and the Republic of Korea, through opportunities for more students to study abroad.
The meeting concluded with both heads of delegation reiterating the importance of the UK-Korea friendship. Both parties looked forward to building on this relationship when able to meet in person in Seoul once it is deemed safe to travel again. In the meantime, the meeting highlighted once again, the worth of virtual bilateral meetings to develop international relations.