Remarks during a joint press conference with President of South Korea
Before I begin, I want to address Hurricane Fiona. Our thoughts are with Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as they deal with the aftermath. The storm is expected to make landfall in Atlantic Canada tomorrow morning and could have significant impacts right across the region, including in parts of eastern Quebec. Anyone in these regions should take proper precautions, monitor the latest weather alerts, and be sure to listen to local authorities.
Minister Blair and our team of Atlantic MPs are in close touch with provincial counterparts, the federal government is mobilizing resources to support however needed. So, please stay safe.
It is a real pleasure and honour to welcome President Yoon to Canada today. We’re honoured that you’ve chosen to come to Canada for your first bilateral visit abroad. You and I had the chance to meet in NATO in June, further meet at Her Majesty’s funeral, and most recently in the last days at the UN General Assembly, but today, we are further strengthening our relationship as two strong Pacific nations.
We are all currently facing a number of global crises—Russia’s unjustifiable war in Ukraine, inflation, climate change—so it’s important to work with our partners around the world. That is what we did together at the United Nations earlier this week at several different events, and that is what President Yoon and I are continuing to do today.
With global inflation making cost of living a struggle for families all over the world, it’s more important than ever that we work together to grow the economy and create jobs, especially good middle-class jobs, including for women, young people, and immigrants. Canada and South Korea have strong trade ties with now seven years of free trade between our economies through the Canada–Korea Free Trade Agreement. This is creating opportunities for businesses on both sides of the Pacific; both Canada and South Korea are focused on growing our economies in ways that benefit everyone.
Canada and South Korea are working together to create good jobs and clean growth. Canada is well positioned to be a global supplier of clean energy as we transition towards a carbon-neutral world.
Today, President Yoon and I discussed how we can collaborate in various areas; I am thinking of critical minerals, batteries for electric vehicles, and emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. And in this area, we are already seeing good results. For example, earlier this year, our government invested in a historic project between Stellantis and the South Korean company LG Energy Solution to build the first large-scale electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Canada.
Together, we can create even more opportunities like this, including for Canadian resource workers, auto workers, innovators, and more. Canada and South Korea both have robust innovation ecosystems with strong research and post-secondary ties. We discussed ways that we can collaborate further on the responsible development of artificial intelligence technologies; collaboration in these entrepreneurial high-tech and high-growth sectors will boost Canada’s competitive advantage and attract good-paying jobs while it benefits people on both sides of the Pacific.
Of course, President Yoon and I also discussed the situation in Ukraine. As two democracies, we firmly condemn Russia’s irresponsible and dangerous escalation of his illegal invasion.
Democracies all around the world continue to stand up to President Putin. We are united in our defence of the rules-based international order.
On Monday, as part of our commitment to upholding peace and the rule of law, Canada deployed the naval ship HMCS Vancouver to begin Operation NEON. This deployment will monitor the UN Security Council sanctions designed to pressure North Korea to abandon its weapons of mass destruction program. At a time of growing conflict and uncertainty, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to nuclear deterrence in the Korean peninsula and around the world.
President Yoon, my friend, the friendship between our countries is a special friendship, forged decades ago through war and continuously upheld by our commitment to peace, stability, and prosperity. 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War, and we are grateful for the honour you paid these brave service members in the laying of a wreath at the National War Memorial earlier today. Thank you for that. We also have deep people-to-people ties, with over 200,000 Canadians sharing Korean origins. The Korean community is an essential part of the Canadian family, we witnessed this as 8,000 people gathered to mourn the loss of Toronto police constable Andrew Hong at his funeral on Wednesday.
Next year will mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Canada and South Korea. I know that our two countries will continue to work together for many years to defend democracy and the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world, and to create jobs and build economies that work for everyone.
Thank you, my friends.