Foreign Minister Eli Cohen traveled to South Korea on Wednesday and met with Foreign Minister Park Jin in Seoul. He was in the Philippines earlier this week on a historic trip.
The visit to South Korea is aimed at strengthening cooperation in the face of similar security challenges and deepening ties in East Asia, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The world should learn from the experience of North Korea, which has developed nuclear weapons, and stop the Iranian nuclear program, Cohen said.
Cohen is the first Israeli foreign minister to visit South Korea in 11 years. He is discussing bilateral ties and also signed a memorandum of understanding with Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Lee Chang-Yang, the Korea Times reported. It involves technological cooperation in biohealth, robotics and smart mobility.
Cohen is promoting joint technological and security developments, the Foreign Ministry said. A new partnership tripartite fund is also being established by Israel, the UAE and South Korea. The idea for an Israel-South Korea-UAE partnership has been floated in the past and now appears to be coming to fruition.
Israel and South Korea are also building on a previously signed free-trade agreement. There was a business seminar at the Israeli Embassy during the visit, the Korean Herald reported.
North Korea's threat to South Korea and the world isn't unlike Iran's
Cohen compared Iran and North Korea in comments in South Korea. Israel would not allow Iran to become a second North Korea, he said, adding that Israel and South Korea share many similarities historically and politically and in the realm of security and economics.
“The two countries are world leaders in investment in research and development, and we jointly promote collaborations that will lead to joint technological and security developments,” he said.
Trade has grown with Korea in recent years, including 20% from 2021 to 2022 to a value of $3.3 billion. The free-trade deal is expected to increase this trade, the Foreign Ministry said.
Cohen congratulated Korea on its election to the temporary seat in the UN Security Council for 2024-2025.
Israel Aerospace Industries is participating in MADEX 2023, the International Maritime Defense Exhibition in South Korea, and said it was showcasing its naval combat suite, electronic warfare systems, loitering munitions, radars and naval platforms.
IAI is “pleased to announce its participation in the MADEX International Maritime Defense Industry Exhibition in Busan, South Korea, from June 7-9,” it said in a statement. “IAI will present a diverse range of battle-proven naval and maritime products, reaffirming its commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation in the defense sector.”
Those who attend will be able to “witness IAI’s technological prowess firsthand,” the statement said. “One of the highlights will be the unveiling of its Naval Combat Suite, including the Barak air-defense system, which has recently carried out a successful engagement of a sea-skimming missile.”