South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s tour of the Nordic countries continues today, Wednesday, June 12th, as he begins a two-day state visit to Norway with a wreath laying ceremony at Oslo’s Akershus Fortress.
King Harald V of Norway invited Moon to visit on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the two countries establishing diplomatic ties. He will be the first South Korean president to make a state visit to the nation.
Later today, King Harald and Queen Sonja will accompany the President and First Lady to the University of Oslo, where President Moon Jae-in will talk about the peace process with their North Korean neighbour and his vision for a nuclear free peninsula. Moon’s speech in Oslo is being held in conjunction with the Oslo Forum’s peace broker conference.
The relationship between Norway and South Korea has always been warm and problem-free, ever since the days of the Korean War in 1952, when Norway contributed humanitarian help with a field hospital. South Korea is Norway’s second largest trading partner in Asia and is an important partner country for Norwegian business and industry. Norway is a global shipping power and a major importer of South Korea-made vessels.
Among summit agenda items to be discussed with Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, and Foreign Minister, Ine Eriksen Søreide, are the Korean peace process, hydrogen energy use and cooperation in the Arctic along with shipbuilding and maritime affairs. The two sides plan to sign a memorandum of understanding on mutually beneficial hydrogen-low carbon economic cooperation.
Yoon Jong-won, senior secretary to Moon for economic affairs, said, “Norway has its strength in hydrogen production and supply networks, and South Korea has its strength in hydrogen cars.”
Moon’s eight-day trip to Finland, Norway and Sweden, seeks to deepen partnerships on peace, innovative and inclusive growth. The three countries are South Korea’s important partners in efforts to bring lasting peace to the peninsula and foster new economic growth engines.
The president’s regional tour is “expected to become an opportunity to reaffirm cooperation with the Nordic nations in the process of achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and permanent peace,” deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong told reporters at a press conference before the president left on his tour.
Moon arrived in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Sunday evening for a three-day state visit. He held summit talks with President Sauli Niinisto to discuss how to strengthen bilateral ties. Moon was exploring ways for substantive cooperation between South Korea and Finland in connection with the “fourth industrial revolution,” such as 5G networks and artificial intelligence.
Sweden will be the last leg of his regional visit. He will attend an official welcoming ceremony, hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf, on Friday morning, a day after his arrival in the country.