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Ashkenazi shortens diplomatic trip to Korea amid Gaza border escalation

CM 10/05/2021

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Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi interrupted his diplomatic visit to South Korea to return to Israel early due to the recent escalation in tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the ministry announced on Tuesday morning. 
The delegation, led by Economy Minister Amir Peretz, will remain in Seoul and sign the economic free trade agreement with South Korea on Wednesday.
South Korea will be the first country in Asia to have a free trade agreement with Israel, and Israel will be the first in the Middle East to sign such an agreement with Seoul. South Korea is the 12th-largest economy in the world and Israel’s third-largest trading partner in Asia.
The Foreign Ministry said the free trade agreement is expected to significantly increase trade between Israel and South Korea and give Israeli industry a competitive advantage, as well as lower the cost of Korean products imported to Israel.
The Israeli delegation will be joined by the Israeli Ambassador to Korea, Akiva Tor and the Deputy Director General of Asia and the Pacific at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gilad Cohen.
On Sunday, Ashkenazi attended a Zoom conference from Seoul about the current situation in Israel, during which he stressed that “Israel considers Hamas as the Palestinian terrorist organization responsible for the deteriorating security situation.”
He continued, saying that “Hamas choose the path of terrorism and violence, while continuing to fire rockets from Gaza at Israel’s southern communities along with an incessant incitement for hate,” adding that Israel has acted to prevent escalation and in favor of religious freedom.

Ashkenazi also stressed that “Israel would not allow Israeli sovereignty and its citizens to be harmed and will respond powerfully against Hamas and terrorist organizations.”Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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