I would like to congratulate Moon Jae-in on becoming the new President of the Republic of Korea (ROK). Korea is one of our closest allies and friends, and I look forward to continuing our deep cooperation on a myriad of issues.
President Donald Trump recently spoke on the phone with President Moon Jae-in to congratulate him on his victory and on Korea’s democratic transition of power. We were greatly honored that this was the first call from a foreign leader taken by President Moon. During the call, President Trump and President Moon agreed to continue to strengthen our alliance, and to deepen the enduring friendship between our two nations. Furthermore, President Trump said he would look forward to meeting President Moon in person and invited him to Washington DC, which President Moon accepted. We now know this summit will be at an early date.
In the meantime, we are off to a great start with the recent visit of NSC Senior Director for Asia Matt Pottinger, and the visit to Washington of President Moon’s Special Envoy Hong Seok-hyun. These visits are important milestones as we prepare for a historic first summit meeting between our two new leaders.
(Photo courtesy of the Blue House)
We look forward to the next summit meeting because it will provide our two nations with an opportunity to exchange views on a number of important issues and further strengthen our alliance. Dialogue at the highest level is an essential part of our enduring relationship, and that dialogue can now resume in full force.
When reflecting on the history of summit meetings between the United States and Korea, one can realize how deep-rooted the bonds are that tie our two nations together. Since the Korean War, there have been 62 bilateral presidential-level U.S.-ROK summit meetings. The first ever U.S.-ROK summit meeting was held in 1952 between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and President Syngman Rhee. Since that first occasion, these meetings have occurred frequently, involving over 11 U.S. presidents and nine South Korean presidents, and have been held in 13 different countries. Regardless of the agenda of the summits or the persons involved, our two nations always found common ground and productive ways to work together to achieve our respective goals. If history is any indication, we can expect another set of successful results from the upcoming summit meeting.
Our summit history shows just how long our two nations have been working together, and it shows the enduring bonds and cooperation shared among Americans and Koreans. Interspersed among all of these presidential summits are the countless working-level meetings, visits, and collaborative events between our two governments. After all, presidential summits are the result of hard work and strong collaboration between two countries.
As President Trump and President Moon prepare for the 63rd summit meeting next month, I am excited to see this relationship deepen and continue to move forward.