South Korea’s President on a visit to Norway

Moon Jae-inSouth Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during Memorial Day ceremony at the National Cemetery in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will visit Norway this week. The program will include a talk about the peace process with their neighbour in the north, K-pop and a ship visit.

I absolutely think it will be a good state visit. I do not think his speech will offer many surprises, but it will be exciting to hear him and how he emphasizes the different elements of the situation, says senior researcher Sverre Lodgaard in NUPI to NTB.

President Moon and First Lady Kim Jung’s two’s two-day visit marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

The relationship between Norway and South Korea has been good and unproblematic right from the days of the Korean War. We contributed humanitarian help with a Field hospital during the war, Lodgaard points out.

Important in the peace process
The state visit begins with an official ceremony at the Palace Square on Wednesday morning, followed by wreaths at the Akershus Fortress.

The Royal couple will then accompany the Presidential couple to the University Hall, where President Moon Jae-in will talk about peace on the Korean peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said.

The speech will be held on the anniversary of the historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

President Moon has been part of the so-called Sunshine Politics throughout this century, and has played a very important role in starting up the peace process that has taken place on the peninsula. Not least, he has been an important mediator between North Korea and the United States, says Lodgaard.

Big disappointment
After the meeting in Singapore, Moon has exploited the improved relationship between the United States and North Korea to soften their own relationship with their neighbour. He himself met Kim for the first time in September last year in North Korea, the country his own parents fled from under the Korean War almost 70 years ago.

But then Trump and Kim met again in Hanoi in March, a meeting that has been referred to as a failure. It was terminated early and without a joint statement.

The Hanoi meeting was a major disappointment to South Korea. It was a setback that limits what is achievable between the North and South. President Moon does not have long left of his period in office, and it is critical for him that the relationship between North Korea and the United States comes back on track, says the researcher.

Moon’s speech in Oslo is being held in conjunction with the Oslo Forum’s peace broker conference.

Lunch in Håkonshallen
But there is also time for other things than heavy diplomacy. On Wednesday afternoon, a Korean concert will be held at the Opera House for the Presidential couple, where K-pop will feature.

Thursday there will be a joint press conference with President Moon and Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) in Oslo, before the presidential couple goes to Bergen together with King Harald.

The program includes lunch in Håkonshallen, guided tour of the Norwegian Armed Forces’ new logistics vessel KNM Maud, which was built at a Korean shipyard, and a concert at Troldhaugen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs.

South Korea is Norway’s second largest trading partner in Asia and is an important partner country for Norwegian business and industry.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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