Foreign minister cautious about French president-elect
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on Tuesday gave a carefully worded but cautious assessment on the election of Francois Hollande as president of France as his campaign pledges against austerity fanned uncertainty over the eurozone debt crisis.
"Many nations have worried about the election of Francois Hollande and its ramifications for the debt and economic crisis in Europe," Kim told a forum in Seoul, adding South Korean exports would "remain vulnerable" to the debt crisis brewing in Europe.
Hollande is set to take over as France's first Socialist president in 17 years, having beaten President Nicolas Sarkozy in polls over the weekend. Hollande's victory, however, sent shock waves through financial markets in Asia and Europe as he opposes the country's austerity measures, seen by many as key to solving the debt crisis.
South Korea's main stock index slipped 1.7 percent on Monday and the nation's won currency declined 0.7 percent against the U.S. dollar amid fears about the impact of French election result.
Hollande is on a collision course with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after Sarkozy spared no effort cooperating with Merkel on bailout schemes and austerity measures.
"I think that such market reactions came because Hollande, who opposes policies pushed by Germany, was elected," Kim told the forum hosted by the National Unification Advisory Council, a state advisory council on national unification.
Kim's 40-minute speech was centered on Korea's overall diplomatic policy and its growing role in the international community, but the minister did not mention North Korea. (Yonhap)