It has been a long time since we’ve had the leaders from the ruling and opposition parties here. I am grateful for your willingness to attend this meeting called to inform you about the outcome of the recent ROK-U.S. summit and to request bipartisan cooperation.
The recent summit was a meaningful opportunity to reconfirm the fact that the ROK-U.S. alliance is constantly evolving. In addition, I was able to sense how the Republic of Korea’s status has been elevated and how our responsibilities and roles have increased accordingly. Once again, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Biden, Vice President Harris, Speaker of the House Pelosi and other U.S. political leaders for their warm hospitality, sincerity and meticulous care for me and my delegation. I believe the Republic of Korea and our people were shown the greatest respect.
The summit has produced more-than-expected achievements in terms of its content. Security- and peace-related cooperation between our two countries has been further strengthened, and at the same time, collaboration has significantly deepened and broadened across all areas, including the economy and technology, healthcare and vaccines, and climate change responses. The ROK-U.S. alliance has indeed developed into a comprehensive alliance. As included in the Leaders’ Joint Statement, I think it was possible to open a new chapter in the ROK-U.S. alliance while overcoming the COVID-19 crisis thanks to the power of our people, the international community’s positive assessment and support from the ruling and opposition parties.
Let me explain a few summit results that are particularly important from our standpoint.
First of all, a firm bilateral consensus has been reached to advance the Korean Peninsula peace process. It is very significant that the Leaders’ Joint Statement specified that complete denuclearization and the establishment of a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula are common goals and that the 2018 Panmunjom Declaration and Singapore Joint Statement are the starting points for diplomacy and dialogue to realize those goals. To put it another way, it has become possible to resume dialogue based on the existing agreements between the two Koreas as well as between the United States and North Korea and to restart the clock of peace. The inclusion of U.S. support for inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation in the joint statement also means a lot for the development of inter-Korean relations. The appointment of a U.S. Special Envoy for the DPRK is equivalent to making a public request for North Korea to resume dialogue. We are looking forward to North Korea responding in kind.
It can be said that the termination of the ROK-U.S. missile guidelines constitutes a symbolic and substantive measure that – along with the conclusion of the defense cost sharing agreement – vividly shows the robustness of the ROK-U.S. alliance. More than just strengthening our defense capabilities, having missile sovereignty will allow us to send our satellites into space on our launch vehicles, thereby paving the way for the development of our space industry. Securing our own global positioning system, KPS, will play a significant role in developing future industries such as self-driving vehicles.
Achieving vaccine-related cooperation is something to be very proud of. The Republic of Korea and the United States agreed to expand vaccine supplies across the world by establishing the KORUS Global Vaccine Partnership. Both countries demonstrated a shared commitment to helping the world surmount the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting healthcare by combining the United States’ technological prowess and Korea’s production capacity. Securing cooperation not only between the two governments but also between leading vaccine companies has given us the power to actually do what we have committed ourselves to and has significantly increased our access to a stable supply of vaccines. Separately, the fact that the United States decided to provide vaccines for 550,000 Korean soldiers as a first step is a very meaningful gift that shows how highly it values the ROK-U.S. alliance.
Bilateral cooperation to strengthen the supply chains for such key industries as semiconductors and batteries will allow Korea’s unrivaled businesses to enter the United States – the world’s largest premium market – and reinforce supply chain links worldwide. This will also set off a domino effect: SME and middle-market suppliers will enter the U.S. market, more parts and materials will be exported and jobs will be created for our people. I am very proud of our companies’ achievements, and I would like to express my gratitude and encouragement. The agreement to strengthen cooperation in 6G, AI, bio, quantum and other cutting-edge technologies is expected to be of great help in enhancing Korea’s future competitiveness.
The Government will do everything possible to implement summit follow-up measures. I look forward to all the parties in the National Assembly cooperating. I would be very grateful if politicians gather their wisdom, so we can optimize the summit results.
During a visit to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives, Speaker Pelosi proposed strengthening cooperation between our two legislatures. The Government will provide all the support necessary for the National Assembly to move on this proposal through diplomatic efforts.
The Republic of Korea’s national status is rising, and its responsibilities and roles in the international community are growing. This weekend, the P4G Seoul Summit, a meeting for a green future, will be held in Korea. A number of heads of state and international organizations, including the United Nations, will be attending through video conferencing. It is a great opportunity to enhance Korea’s global leadership in the response to climate change. Next month, I, as an invitee, will visit the United Kingdom to the G7 Summit. The Government will do its utmost to play a responsible role in international cooperation, including on epidemic prevention and control, vaccines, economic recovery and the response to climate change. I ask the National Assembly to provide considerable attention and support as well.