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President Moon Jae-in returns from nine-day European trip


President Moon Jae-in returns from nine-day European trip

President Moon Jae-in arrived at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam on October 21, returning from his nine-day trip to Europe.

During his trip, President Moon expounded on the ROK government’s efforts for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and secured support from the international community.

The President confirmed Pope Francis’ intention to accept an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit the North, thereby further bolstering the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

During this tour, summit meetings proceeded at a breathless pace. President Moon made a state visit to France and received the warmest welcome. At a summit meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, he asked France to cooperate for peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean President had a summit meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and met Italian President Sergio Mattarella, and they all agreed to elevate bilateral relations to a “strategic partnership.”

He then visited the Vatican and participated in the “Special Mass for Peace on the Korean Peninsula” presided over by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin at St. Peter’s Basilica. The reading and hymns at the Mass were conducted in Korean, and about 500 people including the South Korean delegation and representatives of the Vatican prayed for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in the world.

On the following day, President Moon had a private audience with Pope Francis and expressed his gratitude to the Vatican and the pontiff for praying for peace on the Korean Peninsula. He conveyed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s intent to invite the Pope to the North. The Pope said “I can go” and asked the North to send an official invitation.

The President then moved to Belgium and met EU leaders. He emphasized peace on the Korean Peninsula once again and argued that peace on the Korean Peninsula impacts the prosperity of Europe. He met Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, a permanent Security Council member, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and secured their support for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

At the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G) Copenhagen Summit 2018, President Moon said, “The Republic of Korea government, born through a candlelight revolution, is aware of the power of inclusion better than anyone else. An inclusive state which is responsible for the lives of the people throughout their lifetime and inclusive growth in which the gains from economic growth are evenly distributed are the values of the Republic of Korea.”

He also vowed to fulfill the ROK’s mission to achieve goals for sustainable development and protecting the environment and adopted the Copenhagen Declaration to strengthen cooperation with involved countries. President Moon met Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Queen Margrethe II, and both sides agreed to increase bilateral cooperation and announced a joint press statement.

I was able to wrap up the European tour well thanks to the support of the Korean people. As Andersen’s stories loved by mankind end with the sentence, “So we lived happily ever after,” I will continue to work hard for sustainable growth to achieve that conclusion. The cheers from the people are always encouraging to me. Once again, I would like to extend my gratitude to the overseas Koreans whom I met during the tour.

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