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Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea on Monday, on December 7. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

Prime Minister Stephen Harper become the first Canadian leader to address South Korea's National Assembly on Monday, using his speech to emphasize ties between the two countries.

Harper told the politicians that Asia, with its growing economies, will fuel the growth of the future, and South Korea will be an important ally for Canada.

"Canada has the energy and minerals Korea needs to fuel future growth. Korea is a genius for industry and manufacturing," said prime minister.

Harper has spent the past month courting Asian countries, including India and China.

While Harper's speech spoke of connections, he also addressed the divisions that still separate North and South Korea.

"Canadians have great compassion for the people of North Korea, and we are eager to see the day of their freedom and their reunion with their brothers and sisters of the south," he said.

As part of his trip to South Korea, the prime minister was flown by helicopter out to the Demilitarized Zone, the four-kilometre strip of land that divides the Koreas.

As Harper was getting his tour, two North Korean soldiers came up to line, and stood a few metres away, underscoring the tensions that still exist on the Korean Peninsula.