|President Moon Jae-in / Yonhap|
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold a virtual summit with European Union leaders later Tuesday, as the two sides mark the 10th anniversary of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and forging strategic partnerships, Cheong Wa Dae said.
In the session to open in the afternoon, Moon is expected to focus discussions with EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on ways to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and strengthen cooperation on the Korean Peninsula issue.
It will be Moon's first bilateral summit talks of the year and also his first official dialogue with the new EU leadership that assumed office last December.
South Korea and the EU initially planned to hold an in-person summit in Seoul in the first half of 2020, but they have agreed to hold a videoconference first amid the continued spread of COVID-19 at the EU's offer, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.
Among the agenda items are joint efforts to overcome the pandemic, including the development of a vaccine and treatment, and how to promote bilateral trade and investment as well as push for closer cooperation on the digital economy and renewable energy, he added.
South Korea views the EU as a potential major partner in its Green New Deal project aimed at slashing the nation's fossil fuel use and instead boosting low-carbon, environmentally friendly energy industries for job creation.
South Korea is one of the EU's 10 strategic partners, along with the United States, Japan, China, Brazil, Russia, India, Canada, Mexico and South Africa.
In October 2010, South Korea and the EU signed their FTA and established the strategic partner relationship. (Yonhap)