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Norway's 1st royal visit to Seoul
"Fairy Tale" Heroine to Host Seminar in Seoul
Norway Crown Prince, Princess Visits Seoul May 8-11
Norway's Crown Prince Haakon Magnus (right)and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit pose for South Korean journalists during press conference held at the Palace in Oslo on April 26, 2007.

"Korea achieved peace and prosperity within only decades when it took other countries hundreds of years to gain them," said crown prince in an interview with the South Korean press corps at his palace in Oslo. "We are looking forward to the upcoming visit to Seoul."

In the interview with South Korean media representatives on April 26, 2007 Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway and his wife Crown Princess Mette-Marit praised South Korea for its rapid economic development of Korea and expressed hope for more and better economic ties between Seoul and Oslo.

The Norwegian royal couple will visit South Korea from May 8 to May 11, 2007. They will be the first Norwegian royal family members to visit South Korea since Oslo established diplomatic ties with Seoul in 1959. The two countries opened their embassy in each other's capital in 1980, respectively.

Prince Haakon said that bilateral trade has increased by 40-50 percent since the enforcement of the free trade agreement between Oslo and Seoul in Sept. 1, 2006. "Mutual efforts should be made to maintain positive stream," he said while stressing the need for economic cooperation.

South Korea signed a FTA with EFTA (European Free Trade Association) in December of 2005. Norway does not belong to EU but to EFTA group, which comprises Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

The 34-year-old crown prince said that he is optimistic of the prospects of North and South Korean relations. He said that he is very much aware of the friendly gestures of Seoul government toward North Korea. "Most important thing for the peace on Korean Peninsula is building the bridge of peace between Seoul and Pyongyang," the prince said.

The 34-year-old Crown Princess Mette-Marit was by his side during their interview with South Korean media representatives. She drew world's attention in August of 2001 when she married the king-to-be of Norway, Crown Prince Haakon. She was a single mother with a modest background. People called the marriage a modern Cinderella story comparable to the fairy tale of Princess Diana.

Coincidently, the crown princess' father in law King Harald V faced difficulty in marrying commoner. It took nine years for him to persuade his father for his marriage. So, there was no objection at all in Mette-Marit's joining the royal family of Norway.

Overcoming her a bit troubled past Crown Princess Mette-Marit has been very successful in winning the hearts and minds of Norwegian people since her marriage in 2001. Polls showed that she won public trust in performing her official duties as the future queen of Norway.

Presently, the crown princess is widely regarded as one of the most popular celebrities in Norway. Nitty-gritty changes of her fashion style become major stories of Norwegian magazines and other media pay attention to her petty schedules. She has been serving as special representative of UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) since April of 2006.

The princess stressed her connections with South Korea by saying that the former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung was awarded Nobel Peace Prize only two weeks after she was engaged to the crown prince.

Meanwhile, she will host a conference in South Korea under the title of "Women's Work and the Balance of Life."

She wished that Norway experience about gender equality in social activities will play a cooperative and helpful role in South Korea's path for equal society for both sexes.

Between crown prince she has three-year-old daughter Alexandra and two-year-old son Magnus.






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