Economic mission to Korea kicks off with palace visit 

Economy minister Franz Fayot and Crown Prince Guillaume visit Gyeongbokgung Palace on 27 November 2022 SIP/Julien Warnard

Economy minister Franz Fayot and Crown Prince Guillaume visit Gyeongbokgung Palace on 27 November 2022 SIP/Julien Warnard

Luxembourg’s Crown Prince Guillaume and economy minister Franz Fayot (LSAP) landed in South Korea on Sunday, kicking off an economic mission celebrating 60 years of bilateral relations between the two countries. 

The mission, which brings together nearly 90 individuals from around 34 organisations, is expected to result in the signing of two MoUs--one on cooperation for space exploration and utilisation, the other between Luxinnovation and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) with regards to SMEs and startups.

The first stop on the mission was to Gyeongbokgung, the main royal palace of the Joseon Dynasty, dating from 1395. The name means “brilliance and fortune” and reflects the wishes  of its founders for the dynasty to be fortunate and prosper.

Among the national treasures within the complex are a main hall, once used for royal and state events, as well as an outdoor pavilion used for banquets. Restorations on the palace, destroyed by a Japanese army in 1592, only started in 1867. The palace was further damaged during the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). 

On the final day of the Korea leg, before the mission heads to Japan, Fayot and Crown Prince Guillaume will inaugurate a new Rotarex factory in Asan--the first 100% Luxembourg investment in Korea--before visiting the War Memorial of Korea to pay respects to the 85 Luxembourgers who volunteered to serve in the Korean War as part of a UN mission, two of whom died. 

In an afternoon press conference in Seoul, Fayot called South Korea a “country with so much potential” and one with which he sees Luxembourg being able to do more within several area, particularly given that the countries share “common, democratic values”. He also emphasied the several ways in which the country is a world leader. For instance, Korea recorded in 2021 $128bn in exports of semi-conductors. The country is the second largest spender in percentage of GDP (4.6% in 2021) on R&D, with Samsung being the world leader in absolute spend (almost $20bn, same year). 

On 8 November, foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn (LSAP) announced that Luxembourg would establish an embassy in Seoul, which is expected to open next year to further deepen the ties.

More to follow as the mission progresses.