Ambassador Mark Lippert
Korean–American Friendship Night
Vista Hall, Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel
November 12, 2014 :
As Prepared for Delivery
Ambassador Han Sung-Joo, Speaker of National Assembly Chung Ui-hwa, Honorable Lee Hong-Koo, Chairman Choi Shin Won, members of the Korean American Association and 여러분;
It is an honor to be here tonight – to see old friends and celebrate with new 친구.
I want to thank you all for the tremendously warm welcome you have given me and my wife Robyn. We are both so pleased to be here in Korea.
While I’ve served the United States in the military and in a number of positions in Washington, I can think of no greater honor than to serve my country as the U.S. Ambassador to Korea.
The reason that this is such a great honor is that this is such a special and unique relationship.
It is a relationship that has been forged through the shared sacrifices on the battlefield.
It is a relationship that grows stronger each and every day through our trade and commerce.
It is a relationship that has been enhanced by our global efforts to solve common problems – such as nonproliferation, threats to international health, and terrorism.
But at its core, it is a relationship that is ultimately defined by the deep, personal people to people ties.
It is often in these seemingly simple moments — such as text messages being traded across the Pacific or meeting a Korean student who has come to study in the United States or running into lost Americans here in Seoul who has spent their precious few vacation days to learn about Korean culture – that bind our countries closer and closer together.
Simply put: it ensures that our shared history will continue and that our destinies will remain profoundly intertwined.
The Korean American Association has been a critical part of these special ties. It is truly a privilege for me to meet with members of this community.
I know this Association has continuously served as a bridge between our two nations, fostering friendships and strengthening bonds.
One has only to look out at the distinguished guests here tonight and listen to their stories – each embodying a part of one of the most successful bilateral relationships the world has ever known.
So, a special thank you to the Korean American Association.
During my tenure as U.S. Ambassador, I look forward to building on these connections as we all pursue peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.
Thank you again for your support and your warm welcome. I am also delighted to offer my very best wishes to tonight’s honoree, former Prime Minister Lee, Hong-Koo. Congratulations and best wishes for a successful evening!