Wien, 1. July 2013 Press release

Lopatka: "Trade and tourism between the Republic of Korea and Austria are growing significantly"

New confidence-building initiatives on the Korean peninsula

Vienna, 1 July 2013 – "Relations between Austria and the Republic of Korea are enjoying a dynamic development also in the 50th year after diplomatic relations were resumed. A trade volume of 1.7 billion euros makes the Republic of Korea our fourth largest trading partner outside Europe. Tourism is also growing: More than 200,000 Korean tourists visited Austria in 2012, representing an increase of nearly 30 percent. This positive trend continued in the first quarter of 2013", State Secretary Lopatka said after his meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea, Cho Tae Yul, who is currently attending the IAEA Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna.

The main item on the meeting agenda was the situation on the Korean peninsula. "Austria has repeatedly and insistently appealed to North Korea to stop its provocations and to no longer refuse dialogue. The Republic of Korea together with China and the USA is now launching new initiatives for confidence building and creating permanent peace on the Korean peninsula. These efforts are of significant importance for the stability of the entire region", Lopatka said. In view of the severe human rights violations in North Korea, the UN Human Rights Council decided to install an investigation commission in March. "More than 200,000 people are kept political prisoners in North Korea. The investigation commission is needed to obtain a full picture of the human rights situation in North Korea", the State Secretary said.

Austria and the Republic of Korea also share their commitment for a world without nuclear weapons. "This issue is of particular relevance for Korea given the nuclear tests and the nuclear programme of North Korea. Establishing a zone free from nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula would be a decisive step towards a world without nuclear weapons", Lopatka concluded.

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