News / Asia

South Korean President Addresses US Congress, Stresses Strong Alliance

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks to a joint meeting of Congress as Vice President Joe Biden (L) left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) look on at the Capitol in Washington, October 13, 2011.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak speaks to a joint meeting of Congress as Vice President Joe Biden (L) left, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) look on at the Capitol in Washington, October 13, 2011.
Cindy Saine

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress and was warmly received by both Democratic and Republican members of the House and the Senate. He stressed the strong economic ties the two countries share and the mutual defense alliance they forged 58 years ago to the day Thursday.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner introduced South Korean President Lee to a full chamber of enthusiastic lawmakers.

"Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you His Excellency Lee Myung Bak, President of the Republic of Korea," said Boehner.

The South Korean president was quick to thank both houses of Congress for passing a major trade agreement with South Korea Wednesday night, in a rare display of bipartisanship. He spoke through an interpreter.

"And I am particularly grateful to the leadership of both parties, and to all the esteemed members of Congress for their support in ratifying the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement last night, in a swift manner, in a swift manner that I am told is quite unprecedented," said Lee.

Congress also passed free trade agreements with Colombia and Panama that had been negotiated five years ago. President Lee cited experts he said predict that U.S. economic output will grow more from the free trade agreement with South Korea than with Americas' last nine free trade agreements combined.

The South Korean leader got a standing ovation when he thanked all those U.S. servicemen currently serving in South Korea, as well as all the veterans of the Korean War, including several current members of Congress.

Earlier in the day, Lee held a joint news conference with President Barack Obama, and both leaders agreed that they remain united in their approach to Communist North Korea. Lee said a united Korea would be a threat to no one.

"We therefore must achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. [Applause] And North Korea must give up their nuclear ambitions."

Lee spoke about his two siblings who died as children in the Korean War, and about the fact that he was imprisoned for his political activities for democracy in the 1960's. Over and over again, he stressed that South Korea and the United States share the same democratic ideals and aspirations for peace and stability.

On Friday, Lee is to accompany Obama on a visit to a General Motors car plant in the U.S. city of Detroit. Obama has said he would like to see Koreans driving U.S.-built cars the way many Americans drive Korean cars.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid