One month ago, the Republic of Korea presented a national gift to the Peace Palace. Congressman Lee Byung Suk, who initiated the donation project, presented the gift, a smiling ‘Haechi’, to the Carnegie Foundation. This granite sculpture has been especially created for the Peace Palace. The ‘Haechi’, a mythical animal with a righteous temperament, is a Korean symbol of justice and fairness. The Peace Palace and The Republic of Korea share a sad chapter in our modern history. Mr Cho Tae-Yul, Vice Foreign Minister of Korea and speaker at the unveiling ceremony, explained our historical bond and spoke about our common interest to further international peace and justice in the world.

Speech

Congratulatory Remarks

By H.E. Cho Tae-yul,Vice Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea

at the Ceremony of Donating “Smiling Haechi”  to the Peace Palace

 

Dr. Bernard Bot, President of the Carnegie Foundation,

Honorable Lee Byung-suk, Vice  Speaker  of the National

Assembly,

Honorable Peter Tomka, President of the ICJ,

Honorable Song Sang-hyun, President of the ICC,

Honorable Kwon O-gon, Judge of the ICTY,

Mr. Choi Jin-ho, Korean sculpture artist,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I  am  honored  to  be  here  with  you  today  at  this memorable event of   donating  a piece of Korean artwork to the Peace Palace in  the Hague  --  the city of peace and justice . Let me first  express my appreciation to those who have  helped to organize this meaningful event,  especially Honorable Lee Byung-suk, the staff of the Peace Palace, and the artist of this wonderful artwork, Mr. Choi Jin-ho.

Haechi is a mythological animal that can be compared to the  Roman  goddess  Lady  Justice.  A  difference,  if  any, would be that  Lady Justice is blindfolded, whereas Haechi has  big,  bright  eyes  with  which  it  can  distinguish  good and evil.

During  Korea’s  Choseon  dynasty,  placing  Haechi  in  the royal  palace  or  judicial  agencies  served  as  a  warning against the corruption of government officials and unfair

rulings,  as  well  as  a  symbol  of  love  for  the  people  and commitment  to  protect  their  lawful  rights. Although Haechi  is  an  imaginary  animal,  the  Korean  people  have loved it for a long time.

Setting  up  the  Haechi  statue  here  in  the  Hague  holds historical meaning to Koreans. 107 years ago in the Hague, Korea’s martyr Lee Jun, a prosecutor and a diplomat, died here  having  tried  at  the  Hague  Peace  Conference  to  let the  world  know  about  Japan’s  illegal  attempt  to  annex Korea.  A  British  journalist  William  Stead,  who  inspired Andrew Carnegie  to build the Peace Palace, is known to have helped  Lee Jun and his compatriots  carry out their mission.

At  the  time when the fate of international relations was determined  by  power,  Korea  became  a  colony  only  to later experience the agony of a divided Korean Peninsula and  war.  Due  to  these  painful  experiences,  Korea,  more than  any  other  country  in  the  world,  appreciates  the importance of international law, justice and peace.

As such, the Peace Palace  shares a sad chapter in  Korea’s modern  history.  But  it  is  also  where  we  affirm  our commitment  to  protect  justice  and  contribute  to  global peace  so  that  history  will  not  repeat  itself.  As  one  of those  born  into  the  post-war  reconstruction  era,  a  law student, and a diplomat representing the government of the Republic of Korea, I am truly moved with emotion, standing here  today  to donate the Haechi statue that is an embodiment of our commitment to peace and justice.

Mother Teresa once said, “It is not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”  By donating Haechi to the Peace Palace, we Koreans are sharing love with the people of the rest of the world.

Together  with  the  statues  of William  Stead and Andrew Carnegie  here at this Palace,  I hope  that the Haechi statue will  remain forever as a symbol of justice  contributing  to the  enhancement  of   the  prestige  of  the  Peace  Palace.

 

Thank you.

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