On Tuesday June 11th 2019, the president of South Korea started his two-day long state visit to Norway. On June 13th, the visit in Oslo was concluded in the morning before the royals and the president-couple travelled on to Bergen to visit western Norway. The day was started with a meeting between president Moon Jae-in and Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The two state leaders talked for 40 minutes before they met the press.
It was expected that, during the meeting between the president and prime minister, Queen Sonja would accompany the first lady of South Korea to the famous Munch museum in Oslo. Tuesday morning, unfortunately, the royal court announced that the queen was ill. She has an infection in the foot and is unable to attend any engagements during the state visit. Therefore, this event had to be cancelled.
In a speech yesterday at the Royal Palace, King Harald praised the good relationship between South Korea and Norway. The King said: “It is a great pleasure for the Queen – who wish she was here tonight – and myself to welcome you to Norway. We are delighted with the opportunity to reciprocate some of the hospitality our family has experienced in the Republic of Korea. I am especially pleased to welcome you to Norway this year, when we celebrate that it is 60 years since our two countries established diplomatic relations.”
Moon Jae-in and his wife then took a flight for an hour to the western city of Bergen together with their Korean colleagues. Upon arrival they were welcomed by King Harald at Flesland airport. Also County Governor Lars Sponheim, Mayor of Bergen Marte Mjøs and Chief of the Western Police District Kaare Songstad had joined the king’s welcome-committee.
King Harald travelled with the president to the fortress in Bergen. In the old Håkonshallen there was a lunch for the guests, hosted by the Mayor of Bergen. Håkonshallen is a medieval stone hall in Bergen. It was first build to act as a royal residence and party hall during the reign of King Håkon Håkonssons in the 1260s.
Following lunch, the visit continued to Haakonsvern Naval Base. The president and King Harald were welcomed by Admiral Nilse A. Stensønes, Chief of the Norwegian Navy. At the king’s arrival, a royal trumpet fanfare and a 21-round royal salute were fired form the battery. The king and president then had a private inspection of the ship’s crew lined up at the pier before they entered the ship HNoMS Maud. HNoMS Maud used her main crane to demonstrate her role as a logistics and support vessel by transferring a load to another naval vessel. The ship was bought by Norway and built by South Korea.
President Moon Jae-in and Ms Kim Jung-sook and King Harald then departed from Haakonsvern Naval Base for the Norwegian Composer Edvard Grieg’s home, the castle Troldhaugen. At Greig`s castle they could enjoy a concert with the composer’s own music. This was the last post on the program for the state visit. King Harald wished his guests farewell at the airport. President Moon Jae-in and Ms Kim Jung-sook will now travel to a new state visit in Sweden before returning to South Korea.