National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang on February 22 attended the Seoul Peace Prize Award ceremony, held at the Lotte Hotel Seoul.

The biennial award was established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Seoul Summer Olympic Games, in which 160 countries took part in a spirit of universal friendship and harmony.

Speaker Moon opened his remarks by congratulating Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, the winner of this year's Seoul Peace Prize. He then noted the growing trade volume between the ROK and India, which reached 20 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, and the ROK's soaring investment in India, which has grown to 610 million U.S. dollars in the first half of 2018. Underscoring that some 700 Korean companies are doing business in India nowadays, he said he was pleased that the ROK has been strengthening its relationship with Incredible India.

He also noted that President Moon Jae-in and Prime Minister Modi had reaffirmed the 'special strategic partnership' between the two countries during their summit held earlier that day and pledged to develop it into a more future-oriented relationship, which, he added, would be a wonderful gift to the people of both countries.

Speaker Moon also underscored that India is one of the ROK's key partners under its 'New Southern Policy.' In addition, while noting that Prime Minister Modi had inherited the former Indian government's 'Look East Policy' and developed it into the 'Act East Policy,' he said that when coupled, the New Southern Policy and the Act East Policy will give the broader Asian region the power to achieve peace and shared prosperity.

He continued by saying that Prime Minister Modi has led a respectable life devoted to building the Indian economy and democracy as well as world peace. Citing India's great poet Rabindranath Tagore, who once described Korea in a poem as the Lamp of the East, the speaker said he believes Prime Minister Modi will become a lamp that casts light on the road to a stable Northeast Asia and peaceful world.

The speaker also underscored that this year marks the centennial of Korea's March First Independence Movement, as well as the 150th anniversary of the birth of India's great leader, Mahatma Gandhi. He said that both nations share a noble history: they both protested against tyranny by invaders in a nonviolent manner. Throughout history, he added, both countries' peoples have gained a deep appreciation of how precious peace is.

He then said that the year 2018, which marked the 30th anniversary of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, held historic meaning in that it served as a turning point for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. The speaker noted that Seoul and Pyongyang held three summits in only five months, and that Washington and Pyongyang held their historic first-ever summit last year, which he called miraculous.

Wrapping up his remarks, he noted that in five days, the second U.S.-North Korean summit would be held, and expressed his wish that peace on the Korean Peninsula would lead to stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia as well as world peace.

Source: The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea