|President Yoon Suk-yeol and first lady Kim Keon-hee disembark from the presidential jet as they arrive at Madrid-Barajas Airport in Madrid, Spain, Monday. Yonhap|
By Nam Hyun-woo
MADRID _ President Yoon Suk-yeol showed confidence in his debut on the multicultural diplomacy stage, arriving in Madrid, Spain, Monday (local time) to attend the 2022 NATO Summit on his first overseas trip as president.
During the 14-hour flight, he made himself available briefly to the presidential office correspondents accompanying him on the presidential jet. He shook hands with each and every reporter and answered their questions.
Yoon said he will engage in a flurry of bilateral and multilateral meetings during his trip "as usual."
When asked how he felt about his first overseas trip, he said, "Nothing special," adding that he was "not nervous at all."
"While time is limited, there are many meetings. So I won't be able to spend much time on each meeting," Yoon said. "Maybe I will be able to check pending issues with bilateral meeting counterparts and meet them some other time again. We'll see what will happen."
|President Yoon Suk-yeol gestures while answering reporters' questions on the presidential jet en route to Madrid, Spain, Monday. First lady Kim Keon-hee stands next to him. Yonhap|
His wife, first lady Kim Keon-hee, stood next to him. She smiled at reporters when asked to answer a couple of questions, such as how she was doing and if she was okay with the long trip. Yoon gestured as if encouraging her to answer them, but she simply said "thank you" in a low voice. She looked a bit nervous and appeared uncomfortable about speaking publicly.
Yoon's first overseas trip will be jam-packed with diplomatic events. He will kick-start the trip with a summit with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday and then have a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. In the evening, Yoon and his wife will attend a gala dinner hosted by Spanish King Felipe VI.
Wednesday will also be a hectic day. Yoon will have a meeting with the Spanish king in the morning and then attend a summit between NATO member countries and partner nations, including South Korea. During the summit, Yoon is expected to stress Seoul's strong commitment to North Korea's denuclearization and bring up the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula, which also deserves global attention.
In between those events, Yoon will also have a trilateral summit with U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, where the three countries will reassert their commitment to deter Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats. Summits with the leaders of the Netherlands, Poland and Denmark are also scheduled for Wednesday.
On Thursday, Yoon will wrap up his visit with a summit with the Czech and U.K. leaders and a luncheon with business chiefs in Spain.