SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in South Korea on Tuesday for a meeting with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol at which they are expected to discuss expansion of trade and challenges posed by North Korea.
Trudeau, the first Canadian leader to visit South Korea in nine years, will meet with Yoon on Wednesday, hours after he delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul.
Yoon’s office said they will discuss North Korea’s dismal human rights record and cooperation over security and “critical minerals.” It was apparently referring to Canadian materials used by South Korean companies to manufacture electric car batteries or semiconductors, which are major products in South Korea’s export-driven economy.
On Tuesday, South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Minister for Trade Ahn Duk-geun met with Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Minster of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne to discuss economic security, Park’s ministry said.
Yoon has been trying to increase international pressure on North Korea, which has been expanding its arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles, and strengthen Seoul’s voice in supply chain issues. He has also met this year with U.S. President Joe Biden and twice with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
Yoon and Trudeau will travel later this week to Japan to attend the summit of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, where North Korea’s nuclear threat is expected to be a key agenda item along with Russia’s war with Ukraine and China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy.