Eyebrows raised in Israel over Seoul’s rejection of president’s visit

by WorldTribune Staff, September 4, 2018

Jerusalem was said to be taken aback after South Korea reportedly rejected an official visit to Seoul by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin

Ynet reported that Seoul did not explain its refusal, “but their rejection was undeniable.”

South Korea may have been disappointed that Israel did not send congratulations after the summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-In and North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un in April this year, the report said.

Also, some “believe that the refusal stems from South Korea’s growing frustration over Israel’s continued rejection of important security deals, such as the four 1,200-ton security ships designed to protect Israel’s offshore natural-gas drilling platforms,” the Ynet report said.

“Instead of the South Korean Hyundai conglomerates, Israel chose the German conglomerate ThyssenKrupp, according to information presented in the submarine scandal investigation, also known as Case 3000,” the report said.

Rivlin, who is considered a friend of South Korea, in the past met with CEOs of the South’s largest corporations during his role as minister of communications.

The position of president is largely a ceremonial role in Israel. Presidents are elected by the Knesset for a seven-year term and are limited to a single term.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials say that the two nations remain on good terms and that Seoul’s rejection of the Rivlin visit stems primarily from South Korea being too busy with its dealings with North Korea, the Ynet report said.

A senior official at South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that Seoul did not turn down Israel’s summit proposal, saying that government officials of the two nations are “discussing the timing of high-level talks, including a summit.”

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