Welcoming Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 20th Anniversary of “Seoul and Beijing, Sister Cities”
Date: April 21, 2013
Venue: National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
I am Park Won Soon, the mayor of Seoul.
First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to this meaningful event. I would like to share the friendship of Seoul citizens with Wang Anshun, the mayor of Beijing, Beijing citizens, and distinguished guests from home and abroad.
Seoul and Beijing signed a sister city agreement in 1993, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the friendship we have forged between our two cities. However, there is more to our relationship than this, as exchanges between our two cities date back thousands of years. Based on such a long history, Seoul and Beijing will open a new chapter in the history of our friendship.
Reading the Analects of Confucius, I learned that the Zhou Dynasty possessed a remarkable treasure—its faithful and reliable people.
Of course, both Beijing and Seoul are already wealthy and prosperous, with countless faithful and talented citizens. All of you have already demonstrated your wealth and prosperity. As such, if we could learn something new from each other and broaden practical exchange between us, we could make our cities far greater and more beautiful than they are now. We could definitely open the door to a more prosperous future.
About 60 percent of the world’s population already lives in cities, and more and more people are turning their attention to their countries in hopes of achieving sustainable growth and a better future.
Under these circumstances, cooperation between Beijing and Seoul bears considerable significance. As I know, high-level Chinese officials are also focusing their attention on “urbanization” as one of the highest priority tasks of their national agenda in 2013. I also fully agree with this policy direction.
I once again thank you for your warm welcome, and I would like to express my gratitude. The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Maestro Chung Myung-whun, is here to perform for us today. Also, Wu Wei, a Chinese musician, will play the Sheng Concertos composed by Chin Unsuk, a Korean composer. These performances will serve as an opportunity to learn real harmony through music and art.
The Great Confucius once said, “Joy and pleasure are expressed not only by music full of bells and drums.” I think this means that the purpose and essence of music is to soften and console the minds of the people.
With this beautiful and harmonious music, I sincerely hope the friendship of the citizens of both Beijing and Seoul becomes even stronger in the future.
I sincerely look forward to your warm support, and I wish the best for the friendship and co-prosperity of our two cities.