I extend my congratulations, together with the Korean people, to U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden on his election. I hope that President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris will unite the United States and lead a successful administration. As a friend like no other and a reliable ally, the Korean government will fully respect and support the choice of the American people. It may take some time before the result is officially confirmed, but I expect that the U.S.’s longstanding democratic traditions as well as its long-preserved values of the rule of law and mature civic awareness will ensure that the election process concludes well.
My government and I will work together with the incoming U.S. administration to further cement the ROK-U.S. alliance and continue to develop strong bonds between our two peoples. As our alliance is rooted in common values, we will pool our strengths to practice such shared values as democracy, peace, human rights, international solidarity and multilateral cooperation. We will also work together more closely on pending global issues, including overcoming COVID-19 and responding to the climate crisis.
In particular, we will see to it that there will be no pause in the strengthening of the ROK-U.S. alliance and the advancement of the peace process on the Korean Peninsula. We will do our best to ensure that the invaluable achievements accomplished to date between us and President Trump’s administration will extend seamlessly into the incoming U.S. Administration and progress further.
My government carried out security cooperation with the Trump Administration without any disruption, even when the U.S. election was in progress. We will continue to cooperate with the incumbent U.S. administration until the last minute, as evidenced by our two countries’ foreign ministers holding a meeting tomorrow. Concerning pending bilateral issues, for those that should be finalized within President Trump’s term in office, we will strive to achieve the best outcome without delay.
We will also utilize multiple channels to communicate with President-elect Biden and the other key figures preparing to launch the new administration. My government is firmly determined to steadfastly pursue the Korean Peninsula peace process. President Trump and I have worked well together on the basis of our robust trust and friendship. We have seen a U.S. Democratic administration having closely coordinated and cooperated for peace process with a Korean Democratic government. Building on the achievements and experience accumulated to date, my government will learn from the past and pool wisdom with the incoming U.S. administration to make further progress in achieving denuclearization and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.
We expect that an environment will be created that will enable us to seek new opportunities and solutions for inter-Korean relations as well. Along with creating a community of life and safety on the Korean Peninsula, we are ready to actively work to build a peaceful and prosperous Peninsula. Together with the robust cooperation between the ROK and the U.S., I hope that the two Koreas, as stakeholders in the issues of the Korean Peninsula, will be able to play more important roles.
Another pillar of the strong ROK-U.S. alliance is solid economic cooperation. My government has strived for bilateral economic cooperation to date together with the U.S., and there have been many achievements. We will move toward a greater economic partnership while further strengthening bilateral and multilateral trade cooperation going forward. In particular, the carbon neutrality and climate change response policies that President-elect Biden is emphasizing coincide with my government’s carbon-neutral goals and Green New Deal policies. Thus, there is considerable room for cooperation. I hope that this pursuit of common values and similar policies will build a foundation from which we can usher in the post-COVID-19 era together.
The global COVID-19 situation seems unusual. The number of daily new confirmed cases is rapidly increasing – over 1,000 in Japan, 20,000 in Germany, 60,000 in France and 120,000 in the United States. The global COVID-19 caseload has surpassed 50 million, and the number of daily deaths has exceeded 10,000 on some days. The situation is truly alarming.
In contrast, it is very fortunate that our COVID-19 outbreak is relatively under control – the number of daily new confirmed cases staying around 100 or so. This helps us reconfirm the excellence of Korea’s response, but it also calls our attention to the fact that we, too, should remain alert. Furthermore, we cannot let our guard down, given the recent mass infections in crowded, enclosed places and the ongoing asymptomatic transmission at social gatherings.
I have a special request for the people. Since this virus spreads quickly in cold, dry weather and people go out and attend gatherings more often this season, we are very concerned about a resurgence of COVID-19. This could not only damage people’s health and safety but also put a damper on our economy – that is just starting to rebound – and bring about more hardships. There is no alternative but to thoroughly comply with epidemic prevention and control guidelines. I call on everyone to keep in mind, above all else, that practicing strict prevention and control guidelines in our daily lives is the way to protect everyone’s safety and revitalize the economy.