Hyvää päivää! (Good day!)
I’d like to express my profound gratitude to President Niinistö and the people of Finland for extending a warm welcome to myself and my delegation.
I am delighted to pay a state visit to Finland, which is a country that has shown us the way to happiness and is also leading humanity toward inclusiveness and peace.
Finland embraced the future through innovation. In spite of a series of economic crises, Finland has become a world leader in innovation through outstanding creativity and technology.
The experience of resolving conflicts and confrontation through a grand social compromise in the process of economic development is a huge asset that Finland possesses. Finland’s ability to build a world-renowned, inclusive welfare state gives hope to everyone in the world who dreams of a future filled with happiness.
Korea is also aspiring to become an innovative and inclusive nation. Finland’s experience and accomplishments give us plenty of inspiration. I hope our two countries can become great partners that benefit and closely cooperate with each other in the years ahead.
Today, I shared a vision for future cooperation between our two countries with President Niinistö and discussed specific cooperation projects.
First, we agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of new industries in the future, startups and innovation.
Starting from today, the Korea-Finland Startup Summit will take place for two days. I will take part in the Summit with President Niinistö to encourage businesspeople and express our willingness to provide active support at the government level. I hope the startups and businesspeople of our two countries will work together to inspire new ideas and greater imagination.
Today, we also established an institutional foundation for expanding our cooperation in the realm of innovation. We signed an MOU on cooperation in SMEs, startups and innovation as well as an MOU on joint responses to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We'll establish a startup ecosystem that enables mutually beneficial cooperation among our two countries’ SMEs, startups and major companies. We'll also push ahead with various cooperation projects in the field of future industries, such as 5G, artificial intelligence and big data.
Second, we agreed to invigorate exchanges between our future generations and expand exchanges of people and goods.
The strength of our two countries lies in the people. In particular, our young generations’ creativity and spirit to take on challenges are key driving forces that will lead our two countries into the future. We'll actively push forward with pilot projects, including Working Holiday programs, through which talented individuals in Korea can make inroads into Finland.
We also agreed to establish a direct flight between Busan and Helsinki. Thanks to Finnair establishing flights to Incheon 11 years ago, Helsinki became the closest European Union city to Korea, and our bilateral exchanges have been significantly expanded.
The direct flight that we have just established is the first to connect Busan with Europe. I am delighted to see that my hometown, Busan, has become closer to Helsinki during my state visit. Korea and Finland as well as Asia and Europe will become connected.
Third, Finland is a shining example of a country strongly supported by innovation with a perfect balance in growth and distribution. President Niinistö and I agreed to share our respective policies and experiences to achieve an innovative and inclusive society.
Korea and Finland both face the problem of a rapidly aging society. We agreed to gather our wisdom in various fields, including welfare and human rights for the elderly as well as the silver economy. We’ll work together to build a society that boasts a fine work-life balance and practices gender equality.
President Niinistö and I agreed to closely work together to not only achieve regional peace but also to respond to climate change and facilitate sustainable development.
Today, President Niinistö expressed active support for my Government's efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula. Coming from a country that facilitated the reconciliation between the Eastern and Western blocs through the Helsinki Process, support and goodwill from Finland will be a source of tremendous strength for the Korean Peninsula.
I'd like to convey my gratitude and respect to President Niinistö for playing a leading role in responding to common issues of humankind such as climate change, sustainable development and the Arctic. Korea will also work together with Finland to respond to global issues.
I have no doubt that the summit meeting today was a landmark event that elevated the friendly and cooperative ties between Korea and Finland to a higher level. I hope that we will continue to collaborate for peace in our two countries as well as for the future of co-prosperity in the days ahead.
I would like to once again express my gratitude to President Niinistö and the people of Finland for their warm hospitality, and I would also like to extend an invitation to the President to visit Korea at a mutually convenient time.
Kiitos! Thank you!