KF – VUB Korea Chair Launch







The Institute for European Studies, VUB, and the Korea Foundation (KF) launched on Tuesday, 17 October 2017 the opening of the new KF-VUB Korea Chair at the IES. In their introductory remarks, Karel De Gucht, President of the IES, Lee Sihyung, President of the Korea Foundation, and Sonja Snacken, Vice Rector for International Relations, VUB, congratulated Ramon Pacheco Pardo for his new role as the Chairman and highlighted the strategic role the Chair will play in furthering EU-Korea relations. The first of its kind in Europe, the KF-VUB Korea Chair will become the primary contact point on issues related to Korea and the Korean Peninsula; it will contribute actively to bringing stability to the Korean peninsula through a number of activities and partnerships in Europe and Korea; and by building links between the EU and Korea it will increase the possibilities for their future cooperation on bilateral, regional and global levels. In his congratulatory remarks, Ahn Chong-ghee, the former Ambassador of Korea to Belgium and to the EU, highlighted the tremendous positive changes brought by the EU-Korea FTA in 2011 and said that further cooperation can be developed in a wide range of areas including  cyber security, counter- terrorism, climate change and science and technology. In her keynote address, Helga Schmid, Secretary General of the European External Action Service, hailed the progress in the bilateral relationship between the EU the Republic Korea in a number of fields and referred to her personal experience in engaging with Seoul. She expressed EU's full support to the Republic of Korea in front of the threat that DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes posed. She called on DPRK fully and unconditionally to comply without delay with its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions and to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

The Korea Chair Launch finished with a roundtable discussion focusing on “Security on the Korean Peninsula: What role for Europe?”. The panel was moderated by Michael Reiterer, Ambassador of the EU to the Republic of Korea, and the panellists included Kim Hyoung-zhin, Ambassador of Korea to the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg; Reinhold Brender, Head of Division Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, EEAS; and Ramon Pacheco Pardo, KF-VUB Korea Chair, IES. The panel recognized that Korea stands out among the EU’s other strategic partners thanks to their shared values of democracy, human rights and rule of law. In turn the EU, as a normative power and major economic partner, has great potential to play a critical role in the Korean Peninsula.