Congratulatory Remarks to KICPA at a Dinner Hosted by KUSAF and KDVA

Harry Harris
U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Plaza Hotel, Seoul
October 17, 2019


Thanks, Mr. Cho Dong-hyun, for that generous introduction. I was in Tennessee and Washington last week, and I just landed at Incheon about an hour ago. I came straight here from the airport to meet with you ladies and gentleman and congratulate the Korean Institute of Certified Public Accountants (KICPA), the Korea-U.S. Alliance Foundation (KUSAF), and the Korea Defense Veterans Association on achieving this strategic partnership. I’m happy to be home, happy to be at ground level, and pleased to see so many familiar faces here including my good friends GEN Jung Seong-jo, GEN Skip Sharp, GEN Vince and Carol Brooks, GEN Abrams, GEN Choi, and GEN Park Han-ki. I promise to be noteworthy but not newsworthy.
I’m very well aware that I’m speaking to a room full of accountants here, and that accountants are serious when it comes to following the rules. So with that in mind, I’ll be sure I don’t go over my allotted time!

In all seriousness, though, accounting plays an essential role in today’s economies. Whether you’re talking about development projects or high-quality corporate reporting, the need for credibility is absolute. Accurate accounting provides transparency, helps to attract foreign and domestic investment, and creates a business environment that is stable yet dynamic because it can be trusted.

Stability and dynamism are exactly what the Republic of Korea has achieved over the past six decades of staggering economic growth. And KICPA under the leadership of President Choi has played an important role in that growth.

KICPA also addresses the essential needs of its members, by providing them both opportunities to enhance their careers, and at the same time by requiring that they uphold their core ethical principles. This crucial role improves not only the individual members of the KICPA but also the broader community that they seek to serve.

Similarly, the United States and Korea are working hand-in-hand throughout the Indo-Pacific region, offering equal partnership to those countries willing to adhere to the standards of governance and transparency set forth in our vision of a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific. This partnership represents a benefit not just to its individual members, but also to the broader interests in the region.

A secure environment is essential in order to create the conditions necessary for development. Accordingly, our security alliance with the Republic of Korea continues to serve as the foundation for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and is a linchpin for security and stability throughout the region. That has been our motto for years and holds true now more than ever before.

But the breadth and depth of our relationship extend beyond just security. We’ve built a multi-dimensional partnership reinforced by shared values, shared concerns, and economic interests, and underpinned by deep people-to-people ties. As we confront new challenges in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, it’s crucial for our alliance to remain a bastion of freedom, and the rule of law — in the sea lanes, in the cloud, and in everything that we do as democratic nations. Our alliance is comprehensive, it’s holistic, and the sum of our parts makes us stronger.

Our Indo-Pacific strategy is about more than just seeking alliances; it’s about building deep and respectful relationships like ours with the ROK that reflect overarching of: security, respect for the rule of law, and mutually beneficial economic development.

It’s been gratifying to see these shared values reflected in President Moon’s “New Southern Policy” for expanding engagement with South and Southeast Asia. Under the pillars of “People, Peace, and Prosperity” this initiative demonstrates a shared vision for the region that highlights a natural synergy with our own Indo-Pacific vision.

Over the last 66 years, the United States and South Korea have laid a strong foundation together upon which we constructed myriad connections that were once unimaginable. The coming decades will take us even further. In facing the challenge posed by North Korea and many others, our close cooperation and our shared values make us strong. Ours is a relationship with striking manifestations of military, economic, cultural and scientific cooperation, but most importantly, it’s a relationship infused by deeply shared values and interests.

I, along with my team at the U.S. Embassy and our counterparts in Washington, are committed to working with our South Korean friends to identify and promote areas in which we can work together to innovate and drive future prosperity. While new technologies are often the focal point of such efforts, we can’t make proper use of those technologies unless the legal and regulatory environment is developed in tandem. Your expertise and dedication play an important role in that process.
Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate this fantastic strategic partnership – I look forward to seeing the ways in which KICPA, the Korea U.S. Alliance Foundation, and the Korea Defense Veterans Association work together to strengthen our great alliance even further in the future. Kam-sam-hap-ni-da.