Trans-Eurasia Info Network to Be Set Up

Article excerpt

Korea and France agreed to establish an information superhighway linking Asia and Europe during a summit between visiting South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and French President Jacques Chirac on Monday (local time).

Chirac welcomed Kim's proposal to link the economies of Asia and Europe through an e-network.

The two leaders agreed that ways of launching the Trans Eurasia Network will be a major item on the agenda at the third Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), to be held in Seoul this October.

During the summit at Elysee Palace which lasted 80 minutes, Kim called on Chirac to show sustained interest in the protracted bilateral negotiations on the French handover of Choson Dynasty Royal Archives books to Korea, Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park Joon-young said.

At their meeting in London two years ago during the second ASEM, Kim and Chirac agreed to each appoint a representative to negotiate the return of the ancient documents which the French Navy took from the royal archives at Kanghwa Island in the waning days of the last Korean kingdom. But little progress has been made so far.

Kim expressed his appreciation for Chirac's planned state visit to Korea during the third ASEM in Seoul, Park said.

Kim also showed his deep gratitude for France's support to help Korea pull itself out from economic crisis.

Chirac reaffirmed his firm support for Seoul's comprehensive engagement policy toward North Korea. The French President was quoted as saying that France will maintain the current policy of approaching North Korea in a cautious and gradual way.

Kim hoped that France will play a constructive role in encouraging North Korea to go down the path of reform and opening.

The two leaders also agreed that the two countries would team up to participate in the construction of high-speed TGV rail systems in third countries, including China.

Chirac told Kim that French firms are interested in participating in the sale of submarines and fighters to Korea. Kim responded that the Seoul government would seriously consider his proposal as long as French firms submit favorable conditions, according to Chong Wa Dae spokesman Park. …