Gangneung, Republic of Korea

09 February 2018

Secretary-General’s Toast at the Official Lunch Hosted by President Moon Jae-In of the Republic of Korea

I want to express my gratitude for this wonderful and very warm hospitality of the Republic of Korea, of your people, your Government and yourself. We feel very much at home here.
The Olympic Games are very important but the true reason of my visit is the strong wish to express my total solidarity with the Korean people in this moment of tension and opportunity.
I’m a great admirer of the Republic of Korea, one of the most amazing success stories in the post-Second World War world and the post-Korean War world. Coming from the cinders of war, you have built a vibrant democracy and a global economic powerhouse that is today one of the most influential countries in the international order.
Your support to the United Nations is exemplary, in peacekeeping, in peacebuilding, in sustainable development, in addressing climate change, in human rights. We count on the Republic of Korea, one of the most solid pillars of today’s multilateral world.
And I want to express my total support to your capacity to anticipate spring and to be able to establish a very important positive development in inter-Korean relations [after the Olympic Games]. The very courageous initiatives of your Government have the full support of the United Nations.
And as you rightly said, we hope that these Olympic Games will open a window of opportunity to allow for a strong diplomatic engagement aiming at the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Our capacity is limited, our strength is limited, but we are totally committed to support all efforts for serious discussions to take place, aiming at the denuclearization of the Peninsula in a peaceful way, and in the context of an arrangement of regional security in which all parties can feel comfortable.
And [there’s no better] place than this very beautiful Korean house to allow me to make a toast for the happiness of the Korean people, the success of your engagements in inter-Korean dialogue and the success of international efforts in order to create a peaceful, denuclearized Peninsula that will be, I hope, the symbol of the peace we would like to see all over the world.