Your Excellency President Sauli Niinistö, Mrs. Jenni Haukio, the Honorable Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori, Professor Outi Vapaavuori, the Honorable Chair of the Helsinki City Council Otso Kivekäs, Mrs. Anna Kivekäs, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Hyvää päivää! (Good day!)
It is my great pleasure to begin my state visit to the Nordic region here in Helsinki, Finland. This visit marks the first state visit by a Korean president in 13 years.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Mayor and the people of Helsinki for warmly greeting our delegation like long lost friends.
Helsinki is a city of harmony and coexistence in which nature, people, tradition and innovation form a perfect blend. Finland’s principle that nature is “Everyman’s right to enjoy” permeates into every corner of Helsinki, including its public facilities, architecture and the everyday lives of the people. It is truly remarkable to see an urban environment that has adopted cutting-edge information and communication technology.
By observing Helsinki, I could gain a clear sense of how Finland has been shaping and putting into practice the concept of “Happiness for all.”
The friendship between Helsinki and the Republic of Korea dates back 80 years. In 1939, Professor Ramstedt of the University of Helsinki published a Korean grammar book, which was the first of its kind in Europe. The University of Helsinki has been playing a leading role in promoting the Korean language and Korean studies in the Nordic region.
Today, young , talented Koreans are actively pursuing careers here in Helsinki in wide-ranging areas, including the game industry, research in science and technology and startups. Promising Korean artists are also pursuing their dreams in their respective fields, including music, dance and fine art.
The establishment of a direct flight between Incheon and Helsinki 11 years ago led to a significant increase in people-to-people exchanges between our two countries. Today, President Niinistö and I agreed to open a new direct flight route between Busan and Helsinki to further boost our bilateral exchanges. Busan is the largest port city in Korea as well as my hometown. The new flight route will serve to deepen the friendship and trust between the people of our two countries.
The Honorable Mayor, the Honorable Chair of the Helsinki City Council, distinguished guests,
Your goal of developing Helsinki into the most pragmatic city in the world is commendable. Helsinki has been successful in developing innovation to become a sustainable city that exists in harmony with nature. I have no doubt that Helsinki will achieve its goal without fail and present a new vision to many countries around the world.
Many visitors to this city leave with a feeling of appreciation toward the people of Helsinki for their warmth. Neither myself nor my delegation will be able to forget the warmth displayed by the citizens of Helsinki.
I would like to propose a toast to the continued development and prosperity of Helsinki, and lasting friendship between our two countries.
Nostakaamme Malja! (Let’s toast!)