President Yoon Suk Yeol from June 29-30 will attend the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Madrid, Spain, the first Korean head of state to do so.
National Security Office Director Kim Sung-han on June 22 held an afternoon briefing at the presidential office in Seoul's Yongsan-gu District to announce the itinerary of President Yoon's first visit abroad since the latter assumed office.
NATO invited the chief executive based on its offer to its four "Asia-Pacific partners" -- Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand -- to have their heads of state attend this year's summit.
Thus the summit is President Yoon's debut at a multilateral diplomatic event since his inauguration last month.
Director Kim told the briefing that President Yoon's attendance at the NATO summit has the following three meanings: "strengthening the solidarity of values based on liberal democracy," "establishing a comprehensive foundation for national security" and "seeking effective responses to emerging national security issues."
"The 30 NATO member states are our traditional allies who share universal values and norms such as liberal democracy, rule of law and human rights," the director added. "Amid the unpredictable international situation, we will build a comprehensive security network along our NATO allies."
To support this goal, he said the government will set up a representative bureau in Brussels, Belgium, where NATO is headquartered, and expand information sharing and provide a platform to strengthen Korea's network with its NATO allies.
On the occasion of the NATO summit, President Yoon will also hold bilateral talks with about 10 countries on nuclear power, semiconductors, electric vehicles, batteries, renewable energy and the defense industry. Yonhap News and other Korean media quoted presidential staff as saying Seoul is also planning a trilateral summit with President Yoon, U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.