LONDON, England – South Korean President Park Geun-hye received an elaborate royal welcome at Buckingham Palace yesterday as she officially began a state visit to Britain.
Park’s four-day trip reflects the friendship between South Korea and Britain. It is unusual for the European nation to invite two leaders from the same country for state visits in less than 10 years, officials said.
The welcome ceremony began with an inspection of a 100-member honor guard at the Horse Guards square, about 1 km from Buckingham Palace.
During the inspection, a ceremonial cannon sounded 41 blasts, and the Royal Brass Band played music.
Park moved from her hotel to the venue in a car with Prince Andrew, the second son of the queen.
In her speech conducted in English, Park first expressed her gratitude for Britain’s help during the Korean War. She then stressed Korea and the United Kingdom are trusted partners bound together by shared universal values and a common vision.
She said the two countries can become ideal partners in the quest for new economic growth engines. Park said that the key lies in combining the two countries’ respective strengths in science, technology and industry and enriching this further with unique cultures.
Park’s arrival in London Monday night marked the second-ever state visit to Britain by a South Korean president.
Park also thanked the queen for inviting her for a state visit. She said the visit is all the more significant because 2013 marks 130 years of diplomatic ties between South Korea and the UK and the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.
Park also proposed bringing together Britain’s vanguard experience in creative industries and Korea’s creative economy initiative to discover new growth engines.
Queen Elizabeth II also spoke at a banquet, welcoming the state visit and said she was happy to see that bilateral relations have become a true partnership.
The late President Roh Moo-hyun made the first in 2004. Britain invites only two foreign leaders for state visits each year — one in the first half and the other in the second half, officials said.
During her visit, she will also attend a Korean Film Festival in central London, celebrating the achievements made by the industry and speak at the opening of the UK-South Korea CEO Forum as well as visiting Imperial College London to see displays of UK excellence in science, the creative industries and education according to UK Foreign Office.
Source: Busan eFM News
Photos: Daily Mail