An official website of the United States government

January 10, 2023

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. Let me start by thanking Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Do-hoon for hosting me during this visit to Seoul. The Vice Foreign Minister is a forceful advocate for Korean interests and he’s also a very strong partner in our common agenda. I also would like to send– to thank Foreign Minister Park for sharing a few minutes, just a couple of minutes ago, of his time with me today. The Foreign Minister and I have met several times already, and he’s always– he’s always a tireless champion of our rock-solid bilateral alliance.   

My visit here comes a month after our discussions back in Washington DC in our Senior Economic Dialogue on December the twelfth. In that meeting, Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee and I explored the expansive range of our bilateral economic partnership, highlighting some incredible successes, including the signed memorandum of understanding between the USAID and KOICA, the global vaccine partnership, and the ties across business and industry between our two countries and sectors that are critical to our lives.   

You know, this year, as the Vice Foreign Minister just mentioned, marks the 70th anniversary of our great alliance. But though we’ve been at it for seven decades now, both nations believe that there’s a lot more that we can do. Our alliance has gone from being a defense alliance to an economic– part of it, and now we’re looking at high tech as the next stage of our alliance. As we celebrate the strength of the impact of our enduring partnership, the U.S. is determined to work together with our close allies to capitalize on the opportunities that are presently in the 21st century. Opportunities that include securing critical supply chains, promoting human rights, gender equity and empowerment, combating the climate crisis, and strengthening global health security.   

The U.S. and the ROK are expanding the global footprint of the alliance and showing the world that we can achieve more together. Our two economies are collaborating through the regional economic mechanisms that we have such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, which the U.S. will host this year, and that Korea will host in 2025. Following last month’s Senior Economic Dialogue that we had in Washington, DC we’re also implementing key initiatives. Initiatives that include moving forward on our Minerals Security Partnership, joint research and development in critical and emerging technologies, and promoting supply chain resilience. The ROK has been a very important, critical partner in these initiatives, and we are– we’re going to do some more. We look forward to working together with this deeper engagement.   

In particular, climate change has is a serious global challenge. And it’s a challenge that we can only successfully address through cooperation with all of our partners. That’s what the Inflation Reduction Act is intended to do. It’s intended to position the United States to play our role in addressing the climate crisis at home and around the world as we help to increase the resiliency of global supply chains and also promote inclusive economic growth. We’ve taken, and we continue to take, the ROK concerns about the law seriously. And we will continue to work together on the ROK’s and other allies’, IRA-related concerns as we move to implement the legislation.  

Lastly, and this is something we also discussed, we cannot rest on our efforts to support Ukraine at this critical juncture. Every day, every day Ukraine reminds us of what a free people will do to defend their freedom. We applaud and appreciate the ROK’s generous humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and this dramatically increased support for the Global Fund, among many other efforts. We will keep working with the ROK on efforts to support Ukraine’s urgent energy needs, as Russia continues its brutal and unprovoked attacks on civilian infrastructure. Thank you very much.