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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid