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Korean Year in France kicks off in Paris

South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and French President Francois Hollande give a press conference following their meeting at the Elysee palace on 18 September 2015 in Paris.
South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn and French President Francois Hollande give a press conference following their meeting at the Elysee palace on 18 September 2015 in Paris. AFP

French President Francois Hollande says he will visit Seoul in early November, when he is scheduled to stop in China for climate talks, as he and South Korean Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn kicked off the Korean Year in France at the Elysee palace on Friday.

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The event commemorates the 130th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two sides next year.

Hollande and Hwang held talks Friday in which they were expected to discuss closer economic cooperation and cultural exchanges, as well as the recent rise in tensions between North and South Korea.

Hollande also extended an invitation to the South Korean President Park Geun-hye to come to France next year.

Starting this September, the Korean Year in France under the 2015-2016 Bilateral Exchange will take place in French cities including Paris, Nantes, Lyon and Nice, and will run until August next year. The French Year in Korea will start four months later in cities including Seoul, Busan, Daejeon and Daegu, and will run throughout 2016.

The programmes include exhibitions of visual art, fashion, design, photographs, musical performances and movies.

Friday’s ceremony for the event in Paris includes a dance performance and traditional music at the Théâtre National de Chaillot. It comes a day after Hwang met with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls about the exchange of businesspeople and students.

The two countries on Thursday signed a deal that will reduce the time it takes to issue visas for South Korean businesspeople to one month from three months, and will expand the renewal period to three years from one year.

France will also extend the length of stay for South Korean students from one year to two years.

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