President Moon Jae-in, who is on a state visit to Norway, met with Tone Wilhelmsen Trøen, President of the Storting (the Parliament of Norway) for 30 minutes from 12:50 p.m. (local time) today.
At the meeting, President Trøen said that Korea and Norway are establishing themselves as nations that safeguard democratic values, the rule of law and human rights. She emphasized the fact that Korea is Norway’s second largest trade partner in Asia with a lot of exchanges between the two countries in various areas, including renewable energy, smart cities, the shipping industry and K-pop.
President Moon replied by saying, “It is an honor for me to visit the Storting, Norway’s home for democracy, during my state visit to the country, the first by a president of the Republic of Korea and one in a significant year that marks 60 years of diplomatic ties between our two countries.”
President Moon continued, "Norway has remained unparalleled in the world in terms of democracy, inclusiveness, welfare and gender equality, thanks in large part to the Storting faithfully reflecting and putting into practice the will of the people." The President then spoke highly of Norway's mature parliamentary culture, which he said enables cooperative governance through social dialogue.
Mentioning the term "the Nordic model" in reference to Northern European countries, the President of the Storting said that her country has changed relevant culture and laws to promote women's participation in economic activities. She added that, though they have long been making efforts – having enacted a law on gender equality 40 years ago – they still face problems today. Still, she said that she feels proud of the fact that her country has stayed one step ahead in that area to date.
President Trøen noted that women account for 40.8 percent of Norway’s members of parliament, and the percentage participating in economic activities is 55 percent. The President of the Storting added that women are Norway’s biggest assets.
President Moon replied, “Gender equality is inevitable and the proper path. I believe that the way to sustain Korea’s economy is to expand women’s participation in society, especially since Korea is about to become a super-aged society.” He went on to express his understanding of and appreciation for the Norwegian model.
President Moon added, “Gender equality has gradually been achieved in the public sector, but the National Assembly and the private sector still lag behind in this area. I believe that invigorating exchanges between the parliaments of the two countries may help,” asking for vibrant parliamentary exchanges between the two nations.