Chairman Gonchigdorj, members of the State Great Hural, and distinguished guests, I have always wanted to visit Mongolia at least once. For, I wanted to confirm the historic and racial bond between the Korean and Mongolian people.
You and I and the peoples of Mongolia and the Republic of Korea all were born with a Mongol spot. The shuttlecock, jackstones and cat's cradle that Mongolian children enjoy are also traditional games for Korean children.
That is not all. The Mongolian legend of Alungua as well as the fact that Mongolians can sing the Korean song of ``Arirang'' better than any other people in the world heightens the feeling of closeness between our two peoples.
How can the Korean people, therefore, not feel a bond with Mongolia? As the first President of the Republic of Korea to visit Mongolia, I expect to promote practical cooperative relations based on the historic and emotional bond between Korea and Mongolia.
Chairman Gonchigdorj and members of the State Great Hural,
My respected friend who visited the Republic of Korea twice and encouraged me as the leader of an opposition party is now presiding over the State Great Hural. I am extremely happy to be able to stand here with him.
At the same time, I believe it is a boundless honor for me to be able to address the State Great Hural, which is the cradle of Mongolia's democratization, reform and openness.
It was you who let the world know of a Mongolia that is a democratic nation in name as well as in substance by establishing a multi-party system and adopting the new and historic Constitution in 1992. And it was here that many laws were enacted and systems adopted that safeguard and develop Mongolia's democracy and market economy.
I hope that Mongolia's ideal for a humanitarian society, based on the basic principles of democracy, freedom and fairness will be realized through the State Great Hural.
Members of the State Great Hural, I am firmly convinced that Mongolia will march on the path to prosperity and development.
There are those who say that world history began with the resiliency and mobility of the mounted nomads which forged the age of Genghis Khan. Some also recognize that the Mongolians built an international communications network, some 700 years ahead of the Internet. Such a view means that the Mongolians are equipped with a sense for information which will allow them to adapt excellently to the age of information in the 21st century.
I know very well that Mongolia has been ceaselessly seeking the path of change and development. Mongolia has met the rapidly changing historic challenges in the world in an excellent manner.
In 1988, Mongolia introduced the ``Shinechlel,'' or renovation, policy, which can be called ``the perestroika of Mongolia.'' Since it also introduced the system of directly electing the president and members of the State Great Hural, and a market economy, in 1992, Mongolia is steadily pushing political and economic reforms.
In particular, because of the development of privatization and steady investment by foreigners, Mongolia is showing a real growth rate in the gross domestic product of 3.6 percent or more since 1994.
I believe that Mongolia will easily be able to overcome the current economic difficulties through its reform policy.
While, in international affairs, pursuing a course of a neutral, non-aligned and democratic nation and taking a non-nuclear position, Mongolia has greatly contributed to peace and stability as well as prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. I give a high evaluation to Mongolia's firm efforts for peace, based on its independence and self-reliance.
Mongolia has also let the world know that the age of reconciliation and cooperation had dawned by being the first nation among socialist countries in Asia to overcome the barrier of ideology and establish diplomatic relations with the Republic of Korea. …