South Korean Minister of Science and ICT Minister Lim Hye Sook, and a delegation from the Ministry and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea visited the American Association for the Advancement of Science on Dec. 14 to meet with AAAS CEO Sudip Parikh and Science journals editor-in-chief Holden Thorp. Parikh and Lim discussed the important scientific relationship between both countries. They also touched on issues such as critical technologies, increasing opportunities for women in STEM and science diplomacy.
The visit follows the U.S. – Korea Presidential Summit in May between President Biden and President Moon. During their meeting, both leaders committed to “strengthening their partnership in civil space exploration, science, and aeronautics research.” Shortly following, Minister Lim signed the Artemis Accords on behalf of the South Korean ministry, joining an international agreement that establishes guiding principles for space exploration.
Lim’s trip to Washington, D.C. included meetings with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation and the Federal Communication Commission in an effort to continue fostering scientific discourse between both countries. Lim referenced the meeting between Biden and Moon in her conversation with Parikh, calling her delegation’s visit an effort to reaffirm the strength of the alliance between the two countries.
Lim and her delegation spoke on South Korea’s work in emerging technologies, an area Minister Lim has placed particular emphasis on during her time as Minister of Science and ICT, where she is responsible for administering Korea’s Digital New Deal. The initiative aims to boost investment in technologies like 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence and lay the groundwork for a digital economy. Lim added that South Korea is hoping to work with the U.S. in these areas.
They also discussed the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the sciences, which AAAS has placed particular emphasis on in recent years. Lim and her delegation stressed the importance of encouraging women in STEM fields. Lim shared her personal experience, which includes being the first female Minister of Science and ICT.
Throughout their conversation, Parikh and Lim emphasized the importance of collaboration between both countries. Lim said that South Korea has seen “tangible outcomes” from working together in cutting edge technologies. She encouraged further “talent exchanges in STEM.” Parikh agreed, calling the ability to collaborate “critical to our success” and adding that “our cooperation is critical to make sure that future advances happen for the good of all.”
At the close of her visit, Lim and Parikh exchanged gifts. Lim presented Parikh with a King Diadem Ornament framed in a velvet shadowbox, a hopeful symbol of collaborations to come.