Entries in Korea (5)


South Korean President Addresses Joint Meeting of US Congress

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a packed House chamber, Lee Myung-bak, the president of South Korea, addressed a joint meeting of Congress Thursday afternoon, telling lawmakers of his humble beginnings in a war-torn Korean peninsula as he spelled out the importance of the bilateral relationship his country shares with the United States.

“Your friendship -- and our alliance -- has been indispensable throughout this remarkable journey of hope, and this is why all of you should be proud of what Korea and the Korean people have achieved,” Lee Myung-bak said. “Our alliance will grow and evolve, and it will prevail.”

Just a day after Congress voted to approve a free trade agreement with South Korea, Lee Myung-bak said that, “the United States and Korea have one of the closest, most important economic relationships in the world.”

“We invest in you and you invest in us because we are interdependent. When we trade together, we grow together. When we build together, we rise together. And when we work together, we win together,” he said. “A new chapter in our relationship has opened. Our relationship has become stronger.”

The Korean president received multiple standing ovations from Congress, the strongest of all when he paid tribute to four members of Congress – Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., Sam Johnson, R-Texas, and Howard Coble, R-N.C. -- veterans of the Korean War.

“The strength of a country is not measured in dollars alone. Our mutual defense keeps us strong, and it keeps us safe,” he said. “Ours is an alliance that is forged in blood.”

As for the future of Korea, Lee Myung-bak said he recognized the reality that Korea has been split in two, but he said he will “never accept it as a permanent condition” and he said the North and South “must achieve peaceful unification.”

“The two Koreas share the same language, history and customs. We are one people,” he said. “My hope is that these people and all 70 million Koreans will enjoy real happiness, real peace.”

“A unified Korea will be a friend to all and a threat to none … We therefore must achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and North Korea must give up their nuclear ambitions,” he added, inspiring another standing ovation. “Korea and the United States stand united.”

House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden sat behind Myung-bak as the Korean president delivered his remarks in Korean, while lawmakers and guests listened to a translation through a headset.

Myung-bak is the third head of state to address a joint meeting of Congress this year, joining Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on March 9 and May 24, respectively.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Takes Korean President Out for BBQ

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ahead of their official state visit Thursday, President Obama is having dinner Wednesday night with President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea.

Obama is dining with Lee at Woo Lae Oak, a Korean restaurant in Tyson’s Corner, Va. Members of the U.S. and Korean delegations are with them.

While the previously unannounced outing takes the leaders to a restaurant known for Korean barbeque, the menu includes other Korean fare as well.

The two leaders have a full day of events planned for Thursday, including an arrival ceremony, a joint press conference and an official state dinner.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Reaches Korea Free Trade Agreement

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The United States and South Korea have agreed to a free-trade deal.  Last month when Mr. Obama visited Seoul, South Korea he was criticized for failing to achieve an agreement.

Friday the White House touted that in the weeks since failing to get an agreement what emerged was a “substantially better package than was on the table in Korea,” last month and one that is “significantly improved over the 2007 deal,” a senior administration official said this afternoon in advance of the agreement, adding that it is better for American workers and businesses.

“We think what we’ve been able to achieve now in this Korea Free Trade agreement is one that not only helps us create opportunities for business but for our workers as well,” a senior administration official said, “we have answered many of the concerns frankly from the automotive sector that will allow them to have the opportunity to go and compete just as freely in Korean car markets as they have had access to our car markets over the last several years.”

To note on the beef issue, one of the major sticking points, the administration officials admitted that while the agreement will eliminate the 40 percent tariff, it is still -- in their words “a pending issue.”

The agreement would eliminate tariffs on over 95 percent of industrial and consumer goods within five years.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 


Korean Families Reunite After Decades Apart

North Korean Kim Ho-Sook (R), 83, meets her South Korean brother Kim Ho-Dae during a family reunion after being separated for 60 years on October 30, 2010 in Mount Kumgang, North Korea. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- Families separated by war in the 1950s are sharing tearful reunions this weekend in North Korea.

More than 400 South Koreans - many of them elderly - took a historic bus ride across the border to meet with relatives whom they have not seen for decades, the result of a divided Korea.

Red Cross officials from each side exchanged lists of families to be reunited. The meeting took place in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.

A second group will be reunited next week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Families separated since the 1950s are sharing tearful reunions this weekend in North Korea.


More than 400 South Koreans - many of them elderly - took a historic bus ride across the border to meet with relatives whom they have not seen for decades, the result of a divided Korea.


A second group will be reunited next week.


U.N. Kicks off 65th General Assembly in New York

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(UNITED NATIONS) -- Heads of state from around the world, including the U.S., Iran, China, Haiti, Zimbabwe, and Palestine, gathered in New York Thursday morning for the 65th United Nations General Assembly. The debate began with remarks from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“In Afghanistan, we carry on our work despite exceptionally difficult security and humanitarian conditions," Ban said. "We will seek to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula." The Secretary General's speech highlighted what he called diplomatic victories of the United Nations in the midst of some of the world’s most pressing conflicts. "On Iran, we continue to urge the government to engage constructively with the international community," Ban told the assembly. "In the Middle East, we see encouraging movement toward a comprehensive peace.”

President Obama addressed the assembly Thursday. Absent from the room during Obama's speech was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israeli President Shimon Peres. The Israeli delegation was not at the U.N. Thursday in observance of the Jewish holiday Sukkot.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

ABC News Radio