Pyongyang, 29 March 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Many centuries have passed since Marco Polo, one of the first Europeans to visit the Korean peninsula, made famous in the West the name "Korea". Less than three months have elapsed since Italy, one of the first European countries to renew this ancient friendship, established diplomatic ties with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The present visit to Pyongyang represents the actual beginning of a dialogue between Italy and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. We established diplomatic relations in order to promote bilateral cooperation in the different sectors of common interest, aimed at fruitful results in social, economic and institutional developments. Our new relations have also a second key dimension, that is a political dialogue on major international issues and problems, such as non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human rights, regional peace and security, in line with the European Union - DPRK dialogue.
In this era of globalization, no country can develop in isolation, no one can guarantee his own security without taking care of the concerns of others.
In particular, peace and security in the Korean peninsula and in the region are fundamental concerns of the international community, for which Italy advocates a solution by means of a direct dialogue between the North and the South. We understand the need of both Parties for a broader framework of guarantees, and we hope that this framework may be secured by the great countries involved in this dialogue .
I am looking forward to the meetings that we will conduct tomorrow as good opportunities to deepen our common understanding of the different subjects of interest to both countries. I am also confident that we may rapidly promote cooperation activities in fields likely to foster ties between our peoples, such as trade, culture and science.
Italy is also ready, as in the past, to extend humanitarian assistance and to study new forms of development cooperation, bearing in mind the important experience of the United Nations agencies and European Union offices already operating in the DPRK. An important role could also be played by Italian and European NGOs .
Finally, I would like to thank Mr. Paek Nam Sun, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the other Korean authorities, for the warm welcome extended to my party and to me.
I avail myself of this opportunity to raise my glass to the development of friendly relations between our countries and to the well-being and prosperity of our peoples.