Item 1380 - Address by Nelson Mandela at a dinner with the South Korean President, Kim Dae-Jung, March 2001

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ZA COM MR-S-1380


Address by Nelson Mandela at a dinner with the South Korean President, Kim Dae-Jung, March 2001


  • 2001-03-11 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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  • English

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It is an extremely great honour for us to be with you at this occasion tonight.

During our term of office as President of South Africa we were privileged to pay a state visit to the Republic of Korea. We hold fond memories of the warmth and hospitality with which we were received then.

To have been invited back after our retirement, Mister President, is an even greater honour. For you to remember an unemployed retired old man without any state power or influence touches us greatly. And we thank you, your government and the people of Korea for the honour of receiving us.

Our two countries and peoples share many things and we are delighted to see that the formal relationships established in 1993 continue to grow and to be consolidated.

The economies of our two countries complement each other. We both have sound industrial structures and mutually exclusive technologies and expertise. There are therefore tremendous opportunities for trade, investment and co-operation.

I am, for example, very heartened to learn about the progress being made in discussions between two South African owned communications technology companies and your Korea Telkom about the development of pay TV in your country. It is through these kinds of ventures that your vision, Mister President, is realised: globalisation through co-operation in the fields of trade and culture.

We are both so-called middle power states with a common interest in shaping global affairs towards a more just and equitable world order. Our co-operation in this regard will be to the benefit not only of our respective countries but also of our regions and of the developing world.

My Dear Brother, Mister President, the histories of our countries have so determined that you and I share some common personal and political experiences. We had both been obliged by history and circumstance to make certain sacrifices in search of the common good and for democratic rule in our countries.

It is therefore on the personal and political level such a singular honour to be here with you tonight.

Allow me in the first place to congratulate you, Mister President, on having been the Nobel Peace Laureate for 2000. It could not have gone to a more deserving candidate. Your moral strength in defending and advancing universal human rights and of democracy in your country and in East Asia is legendary. I am humbled to share with you membership of that club of Peace Laureates.

Your noble efforts at achieving reconciliation with North Korea stand as one of the great moral deeds of our time. To foster conflict and animosity is easy; it is within the reach and power of the most common in our humanity. The search for and commitment to peace require courage, wisdom and insight. You, Mister President, have demonstrated those qualities to an exceptional degree with your so-called "sunshine policy" towards North Korea.

Your visit to North Korea was such a step of courage and foresight that history will remember. Your approach to the possible reunification of the Korean peninsula is exemplary to a world that too often seeks to resolve conflicts through a win-lose approach. Your clear statement that there is no intention of annexing or absorbing your neighbour, but that reunification is a mutual process, represents a lesson in modern statesmanship.

For me, from the so-called "rainbow nation" of South Africa to stand here with the creator and leader of the "sunshine policy" of Korean reconciliation, is a singular honour. May the rainbow of peace always hang over our nations and regions and may the sun continue to shine on us as we seek for a better world for all.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: it is my great honour to ask you to rise, lift your glasses and join me in a toast to one of the great democrats, fighters for universal human rights and morally courageous human beings of our time.

I ask you to drink a toast to the people and government of the Republic of Korea, and particularly to my esteemed brother President Kim Dae-Jung.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 01/02/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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