Obama Reaffirms Alliance With South Korea
By Lisa Daniel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 3, 2010 South Korea has the full support of the United States as it confronts North Korea’s sinking of its naval ship Cheonan, and the 60-year U.S. alliance with the republic is as strong as ever, President Barack Obama said last night.
Obama made the remarks as part of a videotaped message to the Korea Society’s annual dinner in New York that commemorates the Korean War. Former Secretary of State and Defense Colin Powell spoke at the event. The society is a non-profit group dedicated to furthering understanding and cooperation between the United States and Korea.
Obama said he appreciated the opportunity to reaffirm “the unbreakable bonds” of the two nations on the 60th anniversary of the communist invasion across the 38th parallel, and in light of the “unprovoked act of aggression” by North Korea in sinking the South Korean vessel, Cheonan, in March that killed 46 sailors.
“To our friends from the Republic of Korea who join you tonight, I say this: you and President Lee [Myung-bak] have shown extraordinary patience and self-restraint,” Obama said. “You have shown the world what true strength and confidence looks like. And you have the full support of your friend and ally, the United States of America.”
Obama said the two governments will continue to consult closely on the Cheonan incident, and that he looks forward to meeting with Lee in Toronto later this month. “Together, we will ensure our readiness and deter aggression,” he said. “We will work with allies and partners to hold North Korea accountable, including at the United Nations Security Council, making it clear that security and respect for North Korea will never come through aggression, but only by upholding its obligations.
“And as I said during my visit to Seoul and Osan last fall,” Obama continued, “the commitment of the United States to the security and defense of the Republic of Korea will never waver.”
Obama said South Korea will demonstrate its “rightful place as a leader on the world stage” by hosting the G-20 Summit in November and the Nuclear Security Summit in two years.
Until then, he said, “We go together in these difficult days. And we will continue to go together in the months and years to come.”