Your Excellency Prime Minister Rasmussen, heads of state and government, distinguished guests,
I feel comfortable to meet you here in Denmark. In this land of abundant happiness, I could almost lose sight of the importance of our goals of sustainable development and climate change response.
I am very pleased to attend the first P4G Summit today. I pay tribute to Prime Minister Rasmussen and the citizens of Copenhagen for preparing this Summit.
Denmark is a leading country in many different areas, but particularly it has been responding to the climate change crisis more actively than any other nation in the world. Since the 1970s, Denmark has pursued a policy to transition to renewable energy, and it has also set out a national vision forswearing the use of fossil fuels after 2050. Such determination by Denmark has led to today’s P4G.
When the Republic of Korea was on the verge of a crisis, Denmark came to its aid and has shared in its happiness.
During the Korean War, the Danish hospital ship Jutlandia docked in Korea for 999 days and treated some 5,000 soldiers and over 6,000 civilians.
Even after the truce, the country continued to heal the wounds and pains of Koreans by providing medical supplies and services as well as medical technology training programs.
The Republic of Korea was able to overcome the War thanks to support from Denmark and many other countries around the world. Because of their help, Korea can now join the world in responding to global crises.
The love for humanity, in which Danes made sacrifices for a country with which they had no diplomatic relations and for a people whom they had never met, brought about miraculous achievements.
I believe that our power to accomplish sustainable development and respond to the climate change crisis also lies in a love for humankind. Just as the world helped the Republic of Korea, the country will also always contribute to help the international community through a love for humanity.
The love for humanity is the mindset of embracing all without discrimination. The Administration of the Republic of Korea, born out of the candlelight revolution, knows better than most any other about the power of inclusiveness.
An inclusive nation and inclusive growth in which the lives of the people are taken care of throughout their entire life cycle and the benefits of economic growth are distributed equally are values to which the Republic of Korea aspires.
With a proposal that countries place the spirit of inclusiveness at the center of their relationships, I will speak with you today about three such spirits for the sake of sustainable growth and climate change response.
First is the inclusiveness that transcends national borders and sectors.
On October 6, the International Panel on Climate Change adopted a special report “Global Warming of 1.5°C.” Climate experts predict that if we limit global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, compared with 2°C, it would be possible to save the lives of 10 million people.
Prior to this, the Paris Agreement announced that it would be possible to adapt to global warming of 1.5 °C through poverty eradication and the reduction of inequalities. It means that all countries, including developing nations and vulnerable areas, have to jointly respond to climate change on the basis of international assistance and cooperation.
It is impossible to tackle such a global agenda as climate change through the efforts of some countries and the public sector exclusively. This is why I look forward to the role of P4G projects that draw together various countries, civil societies and industrial entities from different continents. This anticipated outcome will be obtainable only when a viable, practical vision is in place.
In July this year, Korea launched a platform aimed at facilitating civilian cooperation for P4G projects. Related ministries and agencies, institutions, businesses and civil society will join forces to achieve goals in five major areas of P4G: water, energy, circular economy, cities and agriculture.
Public-private cooperation projects will not be confined to environmental achievements alone. These projects will be implemented in a way that enhances inclusiveness in our society such as job creation, inequality resolution and the spread of green technologies.
Second is Asia's inclusiveness.
From 2000 BCE, Asian countries have regarded mountain cultivation and water management as the overriding virtue in the successful management of a state. Literally, it means controlling mountains and water, but the underlying spirit is to respect Mother Nature. They planted trees to prevent landslides and allowed water to flow naturally, instead of containing it, to reduce damage from floods and draughts. We should study this ancient wisdom.
However, many Asian countries have recently been promoting rapid economic growth centered on manufacturing and are unable to implement environmental protections in earnest. China and India’s combined population has surpassed 2.7 billion, accounting for more than one third of the world’s total.
I believe that only when Asian nations actively participate and international cooperation takes place can climate change countermeasures and the dream of sustainable development be realized. Comprehensive aid from developed countries and international organizations is urgent.
Especially such countries as North Korea, which have not gone through manufacturing-focused growth, can be assisted in their efforts to apply a growth model that seeks to combine economic growth and sustainable development from the beginning.
I hope that we can find ways to help such countries take part in the common prosperity of humanity that avoid increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
Third is the sharing of successful examples and inclusiveness.
While the Republic of Korea grew to a middle power from a developing country, it also achieved successes through its environmental policies. Beginning with reforestation projects that turned lands ravaged after the Korean War into thick forests, Korea has had various successes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through green growth policies over the past 10 years, all the while maintaining growth.
Even today, Korea is vigorously promoting a transition to a clean and safe energy system. It is also in consultation with related countries regarding the Northeast Asia super grid initiative. We will gladly share these experiences with other countries.
The Republic of Korea is also taking the lead in sharing these experiences with developing nations and supporting them through the Global Green Growth Institute and the Green Climate Fund.
I believe that if the cases of even more countries are shared and included to benefit people around the world, humanity will be able to make even greater progress.
Prime Minister Rasmussen and distinguished guests,
Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, which are loved by people around the world, end with the following sentence: “and they lived happily ever after.”
We want such an ending. For sustainable growth and climate change response, the Republic of Korea will always stand with the international community in support of the spirit and implementation of P4G.