By Hyonhee Shin
SEOUL – South Korean President Moon Jae-in will travel to Europe next week to attend a Group of 20 summit in Rome and the U.N. climate conference in Scotland, his office said on Friday.
The nine-day trip, which kicks off on Thursday, will also include talks on Oct. 29 in the Vatican with Pope Francis and Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Moon’s spokeswoman said.
Moon will then participate in the two-day gathering of G20 leaders in Rome starting Oct. 30, before moving to Glasgow for the COP26 summit set to run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.
He then plans to make a state visit to Hungary where he will take part in a summit with the so-called “Visegrad Four” countries, including Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
South Korea is one of the world’s most fossil-fuel reliant economies, with coal making up over 41% of the country’s electricity mix and renewable power just over 6%.
Last year, Moon pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkora-environment-greenewdeal/south-koreas-moon-targets-carbon-neutrality-by-2050-idUSKBN27D1DU and unveiled a Green New Deal https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkora-environment-greenewdeal/south-koreas-moon-targets-carbon-neutrality-by-2050-idUSKBN27D1DU to create jobs and boost economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This month he vowed to raise its emissions-reduction goal to 40% of 2018 levels by 2030 from the previous 26.3%.
In the Vatican, both sides want to discuss ways to promote peace on the Korean peninsula and global issues, Moon’s spokeswoman said.
In July, Seoul’s intelligence chief said he was working on a possible visit https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/seoul-working-pope-visit-nkorea-vatican-agency-says-2021-07-08 by Francis to North Korea after Moon relayed a verbal invitation https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-pope-southkorea-invite-idUKKCN1MS1Q4 from leader Kim Jong Un during his 2018 meeting with the pontiff.
Officials from the North Korean Embassy in London will join the COP26, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported on Friday, a possible sign that the reclusive country might resume in-person diplomacy after two years of focusing inward amid the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures.