A two-day state visit from South Korea to the Kingdom of Norway got underway on Wednesday. President Moon Jae-in and Ms Kim Jung–sook were met by Crown Prince Haakon at Oslo’s Grand Hotel. Together they departed for the Royal Palace where, following the short drive from the hotel, they arrived at a grand welcome ceremony.
President Moon Jae-in and Ms Kim Jung–sook were received by King Harald V and Crown Prince Haakon before being escorted to the pavilion of honour. Following this, both national anthems were played. Queen Sonja was also due to attend, but on Tuesday, the Royal Court announced that the Queen was ill. She has an infection in her foot and is unable to participate in any planned engagements during the state visit.
Norwegian representatives met the South-Korean delegation. Representatives of the Korean Community in Norway and Norwegian school children were then greeted by both the South Korean President and King Harald. The rest of the ceremony was held inside the Royal Palace. Official photos were taken in the Bird Room before a presentation of gifts and decorations was made in the White Parlour.
The President, his wife and the royals then travelled from the Royal Palace to Akershus Fortress. At the fortress, they were received by Brigadier Trond Kotte, Commandant of Akershus. There, they attended a wreath-laying ceremony at the National Monument. President Moon Jae-in, escorted by King Harald, inspected the Guard of Honour before laying a wreath at the National Monument
President Moon Jae-in and Ms Kim Jung–sook and the King walked the few metres to the Korean War Monument to lay another wreath. The Normash monument was raised to pay respect for the Norwegians who served as medical help during the Korean War on the side of the south. It was initially intended that Queen Sonja should have shown the President’s wife, Ms Kim Jung-sook, the Sonja Art Stable at the Royal Palace. But because of the Queen’s illness, this had to be removed from the programme.
Then followed a short break at the Royal Palace before the state visit continued at the University of Oslo. The royals and the South Korean delegation were received by Ine Eriksen Søreide, Foreign Minister of Norway and Svein Stølen, Rector of the University of Oslo. The president was shortly introduced by the Foreign Minister before he gave this year’s Oslo Forum keynote speech. Following the remarks, there was a moderated Q&A session.
Following the programme at the university, there was a lunch at Akershus Castle hosted by the Norwegian Government, in the presence of King Harald, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Astrid, Ms Ferner. The government was represented by Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as well as other ministers.
The second to last event on the state visit’s first day was a Korean music concert ‘Voyage to Korea’ at the Oslo Opera House. The concert took listeners on a journey through the rhythms and spirit of Korean music, from the past to contemporary K-POP. The day was concluded with a Gala Dinner at the Royal Palace.
The dinner consisted of four dishes: first, asparagus with parmesan cream and roasted almonds, which was followed by sea crayfish with sea crawfish and chilli as well as herb salad. The main course was calf with potato croquette and spring vegetables. Finally, there were dessert strawberries with vanilla and pistachio, all seasoned with the herb “Gjøkesyre” from Bygdø estate.