Canada's Trudeau to Visit South Korea; Focus on Minerals, Security

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Hyonhee Shi

SEOUL (Reuters ) - Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau is scheduled to arrive in South Korea for a meeting with President YoonSuk Yeol on Tuesday. The two countries are seeking to increase their cooperation in the areas of security and minerals that are used in batteries.

Kim Taehyo, Yoon's Deputy National Security Advisor, confirmed that Trudeau and Yoon will hold a joint press conference and summit on Wednesday. This will be followed by a formal dinner.

Kim stated that Trudeau’s visit marks the 60th anniversary in bilateral relations. Both sides will release a joint declaration outlining their partnership for 60 years to come.

The two U.S. Allies are exploring ways to enhance their cooperation in the area of critical minerals that are used for EV batteries, and increase intelligence sharing.

Kim told reporters that the two leaders would discuss in depth ways to create a global order based on norms, including North Korea's issues of human rights, launch a high level economic and security dialog, and strengthen cooperation on key minerals.

A South Korean official, who requested anonymity because the deal had not been finalised, told Reuters that Yoon and Trudeau would sign an agreement on clean energy conversion, energy security and key mineral supply chains.

Canada is trying to increase EV production. It has abundant mineral reserves including lithium, nickel and cobalt, which can be used to manufacture batteries.

When they met in September last year, the two leaders agreed to intensify cooperation on mineral supply chains as part of their efforts to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

Both countries are also working to enhance their security cooperation, including the sharing of intelligence. This is all done in an effort to navigate a growing rivalry between China and the United States.

Since the arrest in Beijing of two Canadians accused of spying by Beijing and the detention at home of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, tensions have been high between Canada and China.

China last week expelled a Canadian diplomatic representative in Shanghai as a reprisal for Ottawa's order to a Chinese diplomat based in Toronto to leave.

Yoon, South Korea's biggest trade partner, has treaded cautiously in his dealings with China. However, he is more vocal about tensions along the Taiwan Strait. Yoon's remarks in an interview given to Reuters prompted a heated exchange between Seoul and Beijing last month.