President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, was on a state visit to Finland with his spouse Kim Jung-sook. The visit was hosted by President of the Republic of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, together with Mrs Jenni Haukio and took place from 9th - 11th June.
The presidents held a private discussion as well as talks with a larger delegation at the Presidential Palace on Monday, June 10th. Bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been strengthened during the visit through agreements and memoranda of understanding regarding areas such as start-ups and innovation, equality and energy. It was also confirmed that a direct air route between Helsinki and Busan will be opened, as reported via the Finnish President’s webpage.
“Relations between our two countries are excellent; they are very close. Our cooperation has only intensified over the years following new developments, as evidenced by the documents signed today, which concern social life in a very broad sense,” said President Niinistö at the press conference.
Both Finland and Korea have undergone similar, rather difficult, historical experiences. Both countries have also managed to turn hardships into success stories: “There are certain similarities. In Finland we call it ‘sisu’, and we are happy to let you benefit from this Finnish innovation, ‘sisu’. It refers to a sense of responsibility and working industriously to do one’s share,” commented President Niinistö
The Presidents also exchanged views on topics such as the state of the multilateral system, equality, climate change and Finland’s upcoming EU Presidency. One of the main topics of the meeting was the situation on the Korean Peninsula and negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear programme.
“The Korean Peninsula is at the focal point of global politics, even the focal point of global peace politics, it could be said. We highly value President Moon’s efforts to achieve peace, to achieve historic peace on the Korean Peninsula,” said President Niinistö, adding that the issue is not merely about the Korean Peninsula, but potential advances would be of great importance across the whole world.
“Mr President, we offer our unreserved support to you in your efforts to achieve peace. We are also ready to offer our services should you require them,” said President Niinistö.
The previous presidential visit from South Korea to Finland took place in 2006 when President Tarja Halonen hosted the state visit by President Roh Moo-hyun. President Niinistö last visited South Korea when he attended the international Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul in 2012.