Cooperation in the sectors of industrial technology and education dominated summit talks Monday between President Park and President of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter.
The two leaders recognized the need to couple Switzerland's top-notch technology in precision machinery, chemical, nano and bio industries with Korea's advanced manufacturing skills, a crucial point of cooperation in realizing the so-called "creative economy."
"As Switzerland is one of the world's strongest countries in basic science, and Korea has strength in IT and application technologies, cooperation between the two nations will be of great help to both."
Out of the 11 MOUs and one agreement that were signed during the president's state visit, three were on technology cooperation.
President Park also sought ways to harness the strengths of Korean and Swiss education to foster specialized personnel that can work well within the creative economy.
Switzerland is well known for its educational system, which is based heavily on apprenticeship.
Most high school students are trained in vocational schools, called Berufsschule, where they spend three to four days a week in companies to gain experience in industrial settings.
An MOU was signed between the two nations to provide opportunities for graduates of Korea's vocational high schools, or "meister schools," employed in Swiss companies operating in Korea to receive vocational training in Switzerland for a year.
There were also a number of MOUs signed to boost trade and investment, including a social security agreement that would relieve Korean and Swiss employees working in each other's countries from double taxation.
"It wasn't just economic topics that topped their summit agenda. The Swiss leader promised to throw full support behind Seoul's efforts to maintain stability on the Korean peninsula and persuade North Korea to denuclearize.
Eoh Jin-joo, Arirang News, Bern."