Your Excellency Foreign Minister Ine Søreide,
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Your Majesty for the warm welcome and to the Norwegian government for hosting this magnificent luncheon.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Norway and Korea.
For people in the East, the 60th birthday holds a special meaning.
I am delighted to become the first Korean President to pay a state visit to Norway as we celebrate 60 years of friendship and close ties.
I arrived here in Oslo yesterday and was reminded of the words of Jan Gronbech, the CEO of Google Norway, that Norwegians “have it too good to go abroad.”
Anyone visiting Norway would want to stay here for a long, long time.
Let me convey my deep respect for the Royal Family, the government and people of Norway for building such a blissful and prosperous society together.
The friendship between Norway and Korea stretches back more than 60 years of our diplomatic ties.
When the Korean War broke out almost 70 years ago, the Norwegian government dispatched a medical support unit numbering 623 to help save numerous lives in Korea, a country they had hardly known at the time.
Even in the aftermath of the war, they remained in the war-stricken Seoul to provide medical treatment to the poor and the sick.
Norway opened our eyes to the love for humankind that values people as well as the courage and strength to translate one’s belief into action.
Thanks to support from Norway and the international community, Korea rose from the ashes of war to achieve democracy and economic development, and transformed itself from a recipient to a donor country.
On behalf of the Korean people, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Norway.
Our two countries place great emphasis on people, and our friendship and cooperation is growing in size and breadth.
From the shipbuilding and marine industries that include logistics support vessel and offshore platforms to eco-friendly cooperation such as electric cars, eco-friendly ships and clean energy, the scope of our cooperation is indeed vast.
We are also engaging in joint efforts to achieve sustainable development.
The Arctic Dasan Research Station in the Svalbard Archipelago is the very symbol of our Arctic cooperation.
Protection of the marine environment and climate change are also the kind of fields in which our two countries must work together.
The Akershus Castle is known as the signature fortress in the Nordic region.
Now that I have seen it for myself, I can feel the sheer weight of its lofty reputation.
It is all the more remarkable that while this castle is a magnificent piece of architecture sturdy enough to ward off any attack, it retains such delicate and elegant features at the same time.
I believe that the development of friendship between Norway and Korea has been as sturdy and beautiful as the Akershus Castle.
I hope our two countries will continue to work closely together to achieve co-prosperity and sustainable future for all humankind.
I would now like to invite you to join me in a toast – to lasting bonds of friendship between Norway and Korea, and to prosperity of our two countries.