President Park Geun-hye and her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau agreed Wednesday to closely cooperate on how to cope with challenges posed by climate change.
The consensus was reached in their meeting on the sidelines of an annual summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in the Philippines. It came just two weeks before Park, Trudeau and leaders around the world are to meet in Paris to try to produce a new legally binding deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are to blame for global warming.
The deal is set to be applicable to all countries and seeks to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
Park said the countries should faithfully implement their contributions submitted to the U.N.’s climate change body and stressed the importance of a voluntary participation by developing countries.
In June, South Korea offered to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent by 2030 from 850.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, an amount Seoul says it would reach if it lets business run as usual.
Park said responses to climate should be as viewed as “an opportunity to secure a new growth engine, not a burden.”
Trudeau proposed that Seoul and Ottawa actively cooperate in their responses to climate change.
The two leaders also agreed to expand cooperation in science and technology in their first meeting since Trudeau took office earlier this month.
South Korea and Canada have recently initialed a deal that call for cooperation, among other things, on joint research projects, personnel exchanges and startups.
The sides are pushing to sign the deal in the first half of next year.
Park also said effects of a free trade deal between South Korea and Canada could be felt among the people of the two countries.
Trudeau described the free trade deal that went into effect earlier this year as a “great one, but we need to work on building better business ties and moving forward with our friendship and partnership.”
Park also held a separate summit with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and they agreed to expand economic cooperation and health care.
Demand for telemedicine remain high in an archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands where many people live in medically underserved areas.
Benigno Aquino III told Park that he expects active participation in massive infrastructure projects by South Korean companies. The Philippines is pushing for a number of infrastructure projects worth more than US$19.4 billion.
Benigno Aquino III also told Park that he is considering measures to ensure the security of South Koreans across the country following the recent killing of a South Korean couple by an unidentified gunman near Manila.
Crimes against South Koreans in the Philippines have been on a steady rise in recent years. Nine Koreans have been murdered there this year alone.
The back-to-back summits come hours before Aquino held a welcoming ceremony for Park and other leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
The APEC summit brings together leaders of the 21 member states, including the United States, China, Japan and Australia, which together account for nearly 60 percent of global gross domestic product and almost half of world trade.
This year, the summit is meant to discuss how to build inclusive growth and sustainable and resilient communities, but it is being overshadowed by the recent deadly terror attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 people.
Terrorism was also high on the agenda at the G-20 summit, the world’s premier forum designed to tackle economic issues.
At the summit in Turkey earlier this week, Park, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders condemned the attacks in Paris as they pledged to fight terrorism.
Also on Wednesday, Park called on APEC members to nurture the service industry to create jobs and economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region in a session of the APEC Business Advisory Council. The service industry accounts for two-thirds of gross domestic product in the region.
Separately, Park declared her commitment to expanding cooperation in a wide-range of sectors with leaders of the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American trade bloc composed of four countries bordering the Pacific Ocean — Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
Park later had a pull-aside meeting with her Peruvian counterpart, Ollanta Humala, and they agreed to make joint efforts to help produce a climate deal in Paris.
Humala said he expects South Korean companies to participate in infrastructure projects in Peru, Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s presidential office said, without elaborating.
The two leaders met in April in Peru during Park’s swing to South America.