President Yoon Suk-yeol was one of the guests on hand at a New Year meet-and-greet of people in the science and technology, ICT and communications sectors at Gwacheon National Science Museum on Jan. 10.
His presence at the event was the first in seven years, when former president Park Geun-hye participated in a New Year greeting session in 2016 for those in the science and technology sectors.
Korea Federation of Science & Technology Societies (KOFST), the sponsor of the meeting, and the presidential office, said President Yoon was scheduled to send a video message for the gathering of people in science and technology, ICT and communications sectors, not attending.
KOFST officials said they knew until Jan. 5 that President Yoon would not attend the event and instead send an message of encouragement.
The presidential office confirmed that President Yoon changed his schedule to attend the meeting while filming a commemorative video message.
President Yoon made his presence at the New Year’s greeting session a few days later. In his speech there, President Yoon said, “The days have come when science technology and digital competition are directly connected, not only with the state’s future, but also with our survival, and I extend thanks to all the people who have devoted themselves to pursuing innovation of science technology and digital foundation at this moment.”
“Korea had made tremendous achievements, such as the successful launch of the Nuri-ho and the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (KPLO) called ‘Danuri’ last year and leading the discussion of the new digital order thanks to your dedication and efforts, without fear of innovation,” President Yoon said.
The meeting, sponsored by KOFST and the Korea Federation of ICT Organizations, has been held every year since 2014, as an opportunity to bring together businessmen, academic figures and officials of organizations in the science technology, ICT, and telecom sectors.
President Yoon has been proactively communicating with leaders in the sectors since he took office in May.
He had participated in diverse events, such as an inspection tour at KAIST and National Nano Center, attending an anniversary event of Information Protection Day, attending a session of announcing digital strategies and talking with AI academicians with University of Toronto.
President Yoon is scheduled to talk with quantum technology scholars with Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich on Jan. 20 before participating in the World Economic Forum 2023 Conference, to be held in Davos, Switzerland.
In his speech at the latest event, KOFST Chairman Lee Woo-il said, “I hope days will come when science technology is a core part of the national agenda.”
“This year is the first year of seeing the government’s R&D investments surpass 30 trillion won, and science technology innovation and transition to digital transformation is a core value of our era,” he said.
Chairman Lee said the lunar orbiter Danuri was successfully put on the right track last Dec. 28, making Korea the seventh country in the world to make it on moon.”
The government came up with the fifth science technology master plan, revealing blueprints for the coming five years, and it contains a promise the government will make on five core technologies of the science technology sector and focus on science technology, as he did during his presidential campaign,” he said.