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Speeches & Testimony


Speeches & Testimony

Celebrating the US-South Korean Alliance

Madam Speaker, I rise today to celebrate and honor the longstanding friendship and continued alliance between two great nations: the United States and the Republic of Korea.

Seventy years ago, American and Allied servicemembers and civilians bravely came to the defense of South Korea, fighting alongside so many brave Korean citizens against North Korean aggression. While three long years of bitter conflict yielded only a stalemate, from the shared sacrifice and courage of millions emerged an enduring alliance and friendship between the United States and South Korea based on a common vision for the world and shared values for our peoples. The Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea endures to this day as a pillar of stability for the entire lndoPacific region. And in just the three generations since the Korean War, South Korea has emerged as one of Asia's great success stories, building a dynamic and diverse economy with a vibrant civil society and popular culture celebrated the world over.

However, the relationship between the American and Korean peoples goes even deeper than the Korean War. In 1882, representatives of the United States and the Joseon Dynasty established diplomatic relations between their countries through the Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation. This was the first treaty Korea signed with a Western power, a treaty that first acknowledged Korea's status as an independent country.

My Hawaii has also played and continues to play a major role in the strong relationship between our two countries. In 1903, the first Korean immigrants arrived in the United States through Hawaii, and I am proud of Hawaii's history and present as the gateway for new generations of Korean American immigrants and as a major bridge between our countries and peoples. Today, there are over two million Korean Americans across the United States, with almost 35,000 residing in my home state of Hawaii. It is a true honor to represent such a diverse and accomplished community that has contributed so much to the richness of Hawaii.

Today, this House passed two resolutions recognizing the importance of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. H. Res. 809 expresses the importance of the United States alliance with the Republic of Korea and the contributions of Korean Americans in the United States, and H. Res. 1012 recognizes the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and the transformation of the United States-Korea alliance into a mutually beneficial, global partnership.

I am proud to support both resolutions and will continue to pursue opportunities to strengthen this crucial relationship, as well as to support Korean American communities in Hawaii and across the country.

Thank you: (Gam-sa-ham-ni-da and mahalo)