Israel would like to partner with Korea to establish a "virtual research center" in the space, biotechnology, neuroscience, alternative energy, agriculture, and water industries.

 President Peres welcomed in Seoul


Photo: GPO/Moshe Milner

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Peres arrived in the Republic of Korea (June 8, 2010) on an official visit. Upon landing the President was welcomed by a full military ceremony that included Korean soldiers in traditional grab. The delegation was deeply moved as they left the airport by the sight of hundreds of Koreans filling the sidewalks and waving Israeli flags. 
The President’s delegation includes the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor, the Minister of Communication, and over 60 business leaders form the telecommunication, security, infrastructure, and high-tech sectors. Shortly after landing the President said: "The warmth with which the Korean government and its citizens have welcomed us warms my heart – especially in these days. I come with ministers and 60 leading business people to widen and deepen the strategic, political, and economic cooperation between our two countries."
The President launched his visit in an event alongside Korean intellectuals and public figures including university deans, research center CEOs, and newspaper editors. On the issue of the Palestinians the President said: "Israel is obliged to advance peace with the Palestinians and I am sorry that external actors are trying to interfere in the process out of foreign motives and a desire to sabotage it."
The President added later following a work meeting: "We came to Korea not only to propose business with Israel but also to offer friendship. Both countries were established 62 years ago and both of them are democratic despite difficult conditions. I see between us several shared points."
Today the President began his day with a visit to the world renowned DAEDOK Research and Development Park. The Park brings together 7000 doctors and 8000 engineers across several industries. The President was welcomed by the robot HUBO which showcased the recent advances made by Korean teams in artificial intelligence. At a press conference following the visit the President proposed a shared "virtual research center" in the space, biotechnology, neuroscience, alternative energy, agriculture, and water industries. The CEO of the park responded by stating: This is a very exciting idea. We will be glad to establish the center with Israel and advance and deepen cooperation. The industries the President has mentioned are also of great importance to Korea.
At a lunch following the visit the President added: "Science does not allow you to sit in second place – if you are not on the cutting-edge of technology you have no value. I will recruit my government, scientists, and the head of Israel’s industries for this purpose. The sharing of Israeli and Korean minds alongside Korea’s great industrial capacity has great potential, including the potential to deepen the cooperation between two countries founded on shared ancient values and a proven readiness to stand before any future challenges."
After the visit to the park the President conducted a series of interviews with Korean media outlets in which he harshly criticized the way in which Ahmadinejad was welcomed to participate in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA): "I feel embarrassed by the way Ahmadinejad was welcomed to the CICA Conference. This leader calls for the annihilation of another country and develops nuclear weapons for mass destruction. Therefore, he should stay in his country and not be welcomed with honor and praise on the red carpets of fancy conferences."
The President added that "Israel will protect its borders from the missiles and other Iranian arms passed to Gaza. Any humanitarian aid that other countries wish to pass to Gaza will be welcomed with open hands after a security check that will prevent the smuggling of arms into the area." The President explained that "just as South Korea defends the independence of its borders, Israel has the full right to protect its citizens from the alliance of Iran and the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza."
In response to the flotilla incident the President said: "The sixth boat contained terrorists and not peace activists. The entire world has seen the pictures that came from the Mavi Marmara which show our soldiers defending their lives. Israel cannot allow the flow of weapons into Gaza. The blockade is on the smuggling of arms into Gaza. Goods not related to weaponry continue to flow there."
Earlier today the President also participated as the guest of honor in a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding between the Weizmann Institute of Science and the Korean institute KIST.