Your Excellency Prime Minister Erna Solberg,
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Your Majesty and the people of Norway for the warm welcome extended to myself and my delegation and for hosting this magnificent banquet.
I’m delighted to pay a state visit to Norway, which is a longstanding friend of Korea, in this meaningful year that marks the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic ties.
Yesterday, I was deeply impressed by the beauty of the white night in Oslo.
I was gazing at the blend of blue and white paints in the sky, the mystic beauty of the streets, and the kind and relaxed people.
I wish I could have a chance to see the aurora borealis, known as the northern lights.
Norway is a country of co-existence and peace that embraces the vitality of the North Sea and the greatness of Mother Nature.
The recently announced plan to construct underwater tunnels across the fjords startled the whole world.
It speaks to Norway’s painstaking efforts to protect, conserve and live together with nature.
Based on mutual understanding and respect, the people of Norway have created a society where everyone can share in the happiness, and is regarded as the best welfare state in the world.
I take my hats off to Your Majesty for leading the path towards peace and prosperity by bringing the hearts of the people together.
Korea and Norway are located at the opposite ends of the Eurasian continent, but we have much in common.
We have overcome the limitations of being located on a peninsula through trade, and shaped our own destinies by rising up to challenges.
When Viking warriors were making their way through the waves of the North Sea and actively engaging in trade throughout Europe,
merchants in ancient Korea opened up maritime trade routes and sailed beyond the East and West Seas to thrive in the Pacific.
Our two countries achieved independence from our occupiers through the power of ordinary citizens and subsequently developed democracy.
I have deep personal ties with Norway as well.
During the Korean War in 1950, there was a major evacuation operation in Heungnam, North Korea.
Although it was a particularly harsh winter with Christmas just around the corner, the help from the international community saved 90,000 refugees.
Two Norwegian merchant ships that were anchored near the Korean Peninsula, M/S Bealjeanne and M/S Belocean, also participated in the evacuation operation in Heungnam.
My own parents were among the refugees who gained freedom at the time.
Love for humanity that Norway and the international community demonstrated is instilled deep in my life.
I would like to convey profound gratitude from the Korean people for Norway’s noble sacrifice and dedication in the hour of dire need.
Korea rose from the ashes of war and has now become a responsible member of the international community. We have begun an audacious journey to achieve peace and reconciliation.
I would like to thank the Norwegian government for its steadfast support for our journey towards complete denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In Norway, there is the world’s first peace park named Morokulien. It was built in 1814 on the border between Norway and Sweden to commemorate the last battle between the two countries.
Engraved in the monument in this phrase: “Hereafter War Between Scandinavian Brothers is Impossible.”
South and North Korea on the Korean Peninsula are also one nation.
Many families remain separated up north and down south.
Last year, Chairman Kim Jong Un and I declared that “there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula” through the Panmunjeom Declaration. Thereafter, we have been making efforts to transform the Demilitarized Zone that separates South and North Korea into an area of peace.
Just as Norway has demonstrated first, we will realize without fail the simple truth on the Korean Peninsula that peace is something good that helps us all.
Just as Norway has marched relentlessly towards peace, we will not take a rest in our quest for peace either.
I would like to ask for your continued support and goodwill so that peace on the Korean Peninsula can reach Norway across the Eurasian continent.
As the Norwegian proverb says, “many small streams make a big river.”
I hope my visit to Norway will provide the impetus to expand the exchanges between our two countries in a variety of fields.
I would like to thank you once again for the warm hospitality and the sumptuous banquet.
I would like to propose a toast to the continued health and happiness of Your Majesty, and to peace and prosperity of Norway and the Republic of Korea.