Honorable Mayor Marte Persen,
Before I begin, I would like to extend my words of consolation. I was briefed on my way that a Norwegian tanker was attacked in the Gulf of Oman, and to our relief, Korea’s Hyundai Merchant cargo ship sailing nearby rescued all 23 crew members on the tanker. Although we cannot confirm the exact damage situation of the Norwegian tanker yet, I would like to convey my words of consolation first. Any terrorist attacks against civilian ships can never be justified in any circumstances. Korea strongly condemns attacks and terrorist activities against civilian ships, and we, too, will resolutely respond to such attacks.
As the last leg of my trip to Norway, I’m here in Bergen, the second largest city in the country.
Bergen is widely known to the Korean people as a city that has beautifully preserved its medieval charm, and also as the hometown of Edvard Grieg.
‘Solveig’s Song’ is much loved by the Korean people as well.
I would like to think the Mayor and the people of Bergen for inviting me to this wonderful city that glitters with the treasures of the UNESCO World Heritage, and for hosting this wonderful luncheon.
Bergen has enjoyed prosperity as a trade hub in Northern Europe in the medieval ages.
Today, it is reinventing itself as a world-renowned tourist destination for fjords and also as a vibrant port city that has cultivated culture and arts that are unique to the Nordic region.
I would like to convey my respect to the Mayor as well as the people of Bergen for leading the remarkable development of the city.
My special thanks go to Your Majesty for accompanying me throughout the past two days.
We have spent a great amount of time together and built a precious friendship.
I will remember Your Majesty’s warm hospitality for a long time.
At the ‘Storting’, I learned about Norway’s mature political culture.
During the meeting with the Prime Minister, we discussed in detail how we could further develop our relations in the future.
Norway and the Republic of Korea have shaped their own destinies through indomitable spirit, refusing to succumb to external challenges.
Even when the technology-driven era beckons, our two countries will be reliable partners that put people first and build an inclusive welfare state.
There is also vast potential for cooperation in various fields, including shipbuilding, marine industry, energy, science and technology and the Arctic.
I hope my visit to Norway, made in celebration of the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, will serve to awaken the potential for cooperation between our two countries.
Our people will come to interact more and grow ever more fond of each other.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Your Majesty for inviting me for a state visit.
On behalf of the people of the Republic of Korea, I would like to thank the Mayor of Bergen and all the distinguished guests who are here with us.
I would like to propose a toast for the prosperity and development of Norway and the city of Bergen, as well as for the friendship between the people of our two countries.