by H.E. Park Jin
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Reception to Mark
the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III
May 3, 2023
Ambassador Colin Crooks,
His Excellency Mr. 한승수,
Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea,
Her Excellency Representative 한정애,
President of the ROK-UK Parliamentary Friendship Group,
His Excellency Mr. 김동연,
Governor of Gyeonggi-do Province,
His Excellency Mr. 이철우,
Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province,
His Excellency Mr. 유정복,
Mayor of the Incheon Metropolitan City,
His Excellency Mr. 손경식,
Chairman of the Korea Enterprises Federation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great honor to join you this evening
to celebrate the joyful occasion
of the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles Ⅲ
and the Queen Consort.
We are even more excited because we are honoring
the very meaningful milestone
of the 140th anniversary of the establishment
of diplomatic relations between
the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom.
My special thanks go to Ambassador and Mrs. Crooks
for inviting me and my wife here today.
On behalf of the government and people
of the Republic of Korea,
I would like to extend the warmest congratulations
to His Majesty King Charles Ⅲ
and all our dear UK friends
on this monumental occasion
of the first coronation in 70 years.
With His Majesty’s unwavering and dedicated
public service, his passion for the arts,
and his active commitment to the environment
and our sustainable future,
I firmly believe that His Majesty will open a new and even brighter chapter in the history of the UK.
People from all over the world have been enchanted
by the deep historical and cultural legacy
of your great nation.
You were the cradle of the Industrial Revolution,
the champion of creative economy,
and produced 137 Nobel Prize winners.
Today, the UK remains a global epicenter
with its cutting-edge technology
in a wide range of areas
including artificial intelligence, the space sector,
British culture is also embedded
in our everyday life.
Koreans read William Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling,
love the Beatles and Adele,
and watch Premier League football,
especially when Son Heung-min plays
for the Tottenham Hotspur.
Son Heung-min’s recovery
after the World Cup last year,
is exciting news for Korean football fans.
I hope he brings more goals and more victories.
The UK has been a significant part of my life as well,
both as a student and lecturer of politics,
and later as the President of the Korea Britain Society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year not only marks the 140th anniversary
of our diplomatic ties, but also the 70th anniversary
of the armistice of the Korean War.
More than 80,000 young British servicemen
fought bravely to safeguard peace and security
on the Korean Peninsula.
The bonds forged on the battlefield
are an unshakable foundation for the lasting partnership
between our two countries.
Our bilateral ties truly flourished
in the seven decades
that followed the war in many areas.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic,
our two countries have maintained close economic cooperation based on our bilateral free trade agreement.
The trade volume between our two countries
has grown ever since,
and our vibrant economic cooperation
has been constantly strengthened
by numerous UK companies operating in Korea.
An increasing number of Korean companies, too,
are making their ways to the UK market,
spanning almost every industry.
Our people to people exchanges are also remarkable,
with more than 36,000 Korean nationals
now living in the UK,
which is by far the largest number
among the Western European countries.
It is also exciting to witness Hallyu, the Korean Wave,
and the interest of Korean culture
among the British people.
As young Koreans were captivated by the Beatles
in the past including myself,
the young British are now enthralled by BTS
The British magazine “Time Out” recently published
a very interesting article
based on a survey done by the Bucket List Company,
which is that today’s world’s most popular cuisine
turned out to be Korean.
Since the launch
of the Yoon Suk Yeol Administration last year,
Korea-UK relations have emerged stronger than ever.
Regular high-level exchanges have become
a normal pattern.
The main occasions include:
The bilateral Summit in Madrid, Spain,
during the NATO Summit last June.
President Yoon Suk Yeol and the First Lady’s attendance at the State Funeral
of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The visit to Seoul by Foreign Secretary
James Cleverly in September last year.
And this week, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo’s visit
to London to celebrate
the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.
Next month, we will mark the one-year anniversary
of the adoption of the
“ROK-UK bilateral framework for closer cooperation”.
Based on this framework, our two countries are
expanding our cooperation in a wide range of areas.
With the signing of the Terms of Reference
on Space Engagement Talks in July last year,
we are committed to greater collaboration
in the space domain.
We are also working closely
in the field of nuclear energy,
as Korea seeks to participate in the construction
of a nuclear power plant in the UK.
Cooperation in the areas of health,
cyber space, digital technology,
and climate change are deepening as well.
Our expanding partnership based on shared values
and interests is expanding far beyond
the Korean Peninsula.
Korea welcomes the UK’s increasing engagement and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
The most notable occasion was
when the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth
visited Busan two years ago in August 2021,
in which I myself participated as well.
As a former naval officer,
I was very much impressed by the excellent capabilities of the magnificent ship.
We will work closely with the UK
to promote freedom, peace, and prosperity
in the Indo-Pacific.
As the world faces a global polycrisis,
with the return of geopolitics, supply chain disruptions,
and climate change,
the renewed impetus in Korea-UK solidarity
holds greater significance than ever.
Winston Churchill once said:
“Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.”
With the unwavering commitment
to our shared values of freedom, democracy,
human rights, and the rule of law,
the ROK looks forward to the enduring bonds
of friendship with the UK flourishing all the more
on our common path ahead.
We still cherish warm memories of the historic occasion when Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
visited Korea in 1999.
We celebrated her 73rd birthday
in Andong city, Gyeongsangbuk-do province.
I had the honor to have the audience of Her Majesty
both in the Buckingham Palace in London in 1995,
and in Seoul in 1999.
We hope that His Majesty King Charles Ⅲ
will honor us with a visit to Korea again
– indeed this would be a precious memory
for both our peoples.
My heartfelt congratulations once again
on His Majesty’s Coronation
and the 140th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.
Now I would like to propose a toast
to Their Majesties King Charles Ⅲ
and the Queen Consort.
Please raise your glasses to the new King and Queen,
and the everlasting friendship
between Korea and Britain.