What They Said is a regular series on the quotes Korea is talking about.
Possibly the biggest news story in the world this past week was the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Although this did not have much impact in Korea, government officials and politicians nevertheless sent messages of condolence. One of the first people to respond to the news of her death was former president Moon Jae-in. He tweeted:
“I mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who was loved and respected by the people of Great Britain and the world. She united and empowered the people of Great Britain, and she was a monarch who gave peace to the world in times of war, stability in times of crisis. In 1999, she visited Korea for the first time as the United Kingdom’s head of state and showed deep interest and respect for Korean culture at Andong Hahoe Folk Village and in the streets of Insa-dong. She also contributed greatly to the promotion of friendship between our two countries. The spirit of her service and devotion, which she has maintained with dignity for the 70 years of her reign, will forever be remembered. I offer my condolences to the British royal family and people who must be deeply grieving her death.”
— Moon Jae-in, former president of the Republic of Korea, September 9, 2022
Korea’s current president Yoon Suk Yeol also posted a message of condolence on his social media accounts. His message was written in English, but caused some controversy when a typo was spotted in the Queen’s name—he had spelled Elizabeth with an “s” instead of “z”. The message was deleted and reposted with the corrected spelling 13 minutes later.
Deepest condolences to the people of the United Kingdom for the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She had a strong belief in the cause of human freedom and left great legacies of dignity. Her kind heart and good deed will remain in our memories.
— Yoon Suk Yeol, president of the Republic of Korea, September 9, 2022
Korean political parties sent condolence messages as well. The People Power Party released the following statement:
“Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain passed away on September 8 local time. We send our deepest condolences to the grieving British people.
Queen Elizabeth II ruled her country for 70 years and 127 days, the longest period in British history. As Britain’s spiritual stalwart, she faithfully served to bring the British people together whenever the country was in crisis.
Queen Elizabeth II was a leader of Great Britain and also of the world. In her speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, she emphasized that in order to resolve conflicts and enmity around the world, the UN must continue its efforts to uphold human dignity and prosperity.
In 1999, Queen Elizabeth II visited Korea. She visited Andong Hahoe Folk Village, where she experienced firsthand Korea’s Confucian culture and received a Korean traditional birthday meal.
In particular, she was seen taking off her shoes when she visited a hanok in the Hahoe Folk Village, and her show of respect for Korean culture became the talk of the town.
Queen Elizabeth II earned the respect and love of people around the world because she showed the leadership of unity based on her understanding of others throughout her life.
The power of understanding that can unite everyone despite differences—this resonates greatly in Korean society as well.
The deep friendship between Korea and Great Britain of which Queen Elizabeth II was a big part remains a great legacy. We believe that we will be able to forge an even more advanced relationship with King Charles III, who succeeded her to the throne.”
— Park Jung-ha, People Power Party’s spokesperson, September 9, 2022
The Democratic Party of Korea also released a statement:
“We mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who was loved and respected by the British people as well as by the world.
We also send our deepest condolences to the British people who are in great shock and sorrow.
Queen Elizabeth was a spiritual stalwart of the British people and a symbol of Britain to the world.
She ascended to the throne during the turbulent years after World War II, and during the seventy years of her reign she played a central role in unifying the nation, navigating adversity together with the British people.
Despite her old age, she fulfilled her responsibilities as the Queen to the end.
With her humor and friendliness, Queen Elizabeth earned the love and respect of the people of Great Britain and of the world.
She is special to the Koreans, as she visited Korea in 1999.
We once again send our condolences to the people of Great Britain, and pray for her eternal rest.”
— Lim O-Kyeong, Democratic Party of Korea’s spokesperson, September 9, 2022