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JOINT MEETING TO HEAR AN ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LEE MYUNG-BAK, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA
(House of Representatives - October 13, 2011)

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[Pages H6882-H6885]
                              {time}  1550
   JOINT MEETING TO HEAR AN ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY LEE MYUNG-BAK, 
                   PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

  During the recess, the House was called to order by the Speaker at 3 
o'clock and 50 minutes p.m.
  The Deputy Sergeant at Arms, Kerri Hanley, announced the Vice 
President and Members of the U.S. Senate who entered the Hall of the 
House of Representatives, the Vice President taking the chair at the 
right of the Speaker, and the Members of the Senate the seats reserved 
for them.
  The SPEAKER. The joint meeting will come to order.
  The Chair appoints as members of the committee on the part of the 
House to escort His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic 
of Korea, into the Chamber:
  The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Cantor);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy);
  The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hensarling);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier);
  The gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen);
  The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Camp);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. McKeon);
  The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Manzullo);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Royce);
  The gentleman from Texas (Mr. Brady);
  The gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Granger);
  The gentleman from Washington (Mr. Reichert);
  The gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi);
  The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer);

[[Page H6883]]

  The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Larson);
  The gentleman from California (Mr. Becerra);
  The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Van Hollen);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel);
  The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers);
  The gentleman from New York (Mr. Ackerman);
  The gentlewoman from California (Ms. Loretta Sanchez);
  The gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Schwartz);
  The gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin); and
  The gentlewoman from California (Ms. Matsui).
  The VICE PRESIDENT. The President of the Senate, at the direction of 
that body, appoints the following Senators as members of the committee 
on the part of the Senate to escort His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, 
President of the Republic of Korea, into the House Chamber:
  The Senator from Kentucky (Mr. McConnell);
  The Senator from Tennessee (Mr. Alexander);
  The Senator from Wyoming (Mr. Barrasso);
  The Senator from South Dakota (Mr. Thune);
  The Senator from Texas (Mr. Cornyn);
  The Senator from Indiana (Mr. Lugar);
  The Senator from Ohio (Mr. Portman);
  The Senator from Nevada (Mr. Reid);
  The Senator from Alaska (Mr. Begich);
  The Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kerry);
  The Senator from Virginia (Mr. Webb).
  The Deputy Sergeant at Arms announced the Acting Dean of the 
Diplomatic Corps, Her Excellency Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador of the 
Republic of Singapore to the U.S.
  The Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps entered the Hall of the House 
of Representatives and took the seat reserved for her.
  The Deputy Sergeant at Arms announced the Cabinet of the President of 
the United States.
  The Members of the Cabinet of the President of the United States 
entered the Hall of the House of Representatives and took the seats 
reserved for them in front of the Speaker's rostrum.
  At 4 o'clock and 5 minutes p.m., the Deputy Sergeant at Arms 
announced His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of 
Korea.
  The President of the Republic of Korea, escorted by the committee of 
Senators and Representatives, entered the Hall of the House of 
Representatives and stood at the Clerk's desk.
  (Applause, the Members rising.)
  The SPEAKER. Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and the 
distinct honor of presenting to you His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, 
President of the Republic of Korea.
  (Applause, the Members rising.)
  President LEE. Will you please allow me to speak in Korean.
  [In Korean]
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, distinguished Members of Congress, 
ladies and gentlemen, it is a great privilege to speak to you from this 
podium, in this great institution representing democracy and freedom. 
And I am particularly grateful to the leadership of both parties and to 
all the esteemed Members of Congress for their support in ratifying the 
Korea-U.S. trade agreement last night in a swift manner, in a swift 
manner which, I am told, was quite unprecedented.
  I flew halfway around the world to be here today among friends, 
thinking about and deeply grateful for the friendship between our two 
countries.
  For Korea, America is not a distant land. America is our neighbor and 
our friend. America is our ally and our partner.
  There is a Korean expression that describes our 60-year partnership: 
``katchi kapshida.'' In English, it means ``We go together.'' Indeed. 
We have been going together for 60 years.
  For the last 60 years, remarkable changes took place in both of our 
countries. For the United States, it has been a journey to new 
frontiers--on this planet and beyond. It has been a journey of 
achieving fantastic breakthroughs in science and technology which led 
to the advent of the information age. It was a journey of developing 
new cures and making advances in machinery. And throughout this 
journey, you served as the greatest inspiration for peace and 
prosperity the world has ever known.
  For the Republic of Korea, the last 60 years has been an incredible 
time of transformation and renewal. It was an epic journey from poverty 
to prosperity; from dictatorship to a thriving democracy; from a hermit 
nation to a global Korea. Korea's story is your story, too. And that 
fact is clear in our capital city of Seoul.
  During the Korean War, Seoul was almost completely destroyed. Today, 
however, Seoul is reborn. Where there was once rubble now stands the 
Seoul Tower, looking out over a thriving modern metropolis. In the 
streets where women and children searched the wreckage for fuel, soon 
vehicles powered by magnetic strips will roam the streets. Seoul is 
also the most wired city on the planet.
  Seoul is also one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities in the 
world. Last year, Seoul was host to the G20 Summit and next March it 
will host the second Nuclear Security Summit, which will be attended by 
more than 50 heads of state and government.
  To mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, we invited American 
veterans back to see the land they helped liberate. And when they 
visited Korea, they found very few landmarks that they recognized from 
the war. Instead, they saw in Korea what you see here and experience in 
the United States today. The pace and the pulse of modern life. A 
creative entrepreneurial spirit that knows no bounds. A sense of self-
confidence, optimism, and pride. And an unshakable faith in freedom, in 
free elections, a free press, and free markets. Oh, and yes, 
personally, our love for fried chicken.

  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these are the values that we share.
  Your great President and statesman, Thomas Jefferson, said that the 
only safe place to locate ``the ultimate powers of the society'' is in 
the hands of the people themselves. These same values can be found in 
Korea, too.
  One of Korea's greatest kings, King Sejong, said approximately 600 
years ago that ``The people are heaven. The will of the people is the 
will of heaven. Revere the people as you would heaven.''
  Here, an ocean away, in the people's House, these ancient words of 
our ancestors that call us to revere our people still ring true.
  We also share a belief that political freedom and economic freedom 
must go hand in hand. During the 1960s, Koreans demanded democracy and 
freedom. As one of the student leaders who organized protests calling 
for democracy, I was caught and imprisoned, but this only strengthened 
my conviction that universal rights such as democracy, dignity of man, 
and human rights must never be compromised.
  At the same time, the Korean people yearned for another kind of 
freedom--freedom from poverty. Back then, Korea's per capita GDP was 
less than $80. University graduates roamed the streets, unable to find 
a job. Opportunities were scarce. It was difficult for people to have 
hope for the future.
  This is when I realized that even if we had political freedom and 
democracy, we would not be truly free without economic freedom. So, 
after I was released from prison for my political activities, I joined 
a small local company. This company, which had less than 100 employees 
at the time, later evolved into a global conglomerate with over 160,000 
employees. And as one of its youngest-ever CEOs, I was privileged to be 
part of Korea's remarkable economic rise as Korea's economy grew into 
being near the global top 10. Along the way, I was able to escape 
poverty myself, but being able to contribute to my country's growth 
will always remain as one of my proudest moments.
  As you can see, we have won the fight to win two very important 
freedoms--our political freedom and our economic freedom. Very few 
countries were successful in their quest to win freedom from poverty 
and freedom from oppression. And Koreans are proud of this.
  And they also know that your friendship--and our alliance--has been 
indispensable throughout this remarkable journey of hope. And this is 
why all of

[[Page H6884]]

you here should be proud of what Korea and the Korean people have 
achieved.
  Nevertheless, I still get asked by many foreign leaders, how did a 
country with no natural resources, no technology, no capital, and no 
experience manage to achieve so much in just one generation?
  My answer to them is very simple: the power of education.
  The Korean War, as I've said, completely destroyed my country. The 
people had nothing to eat and nothing to wear. For years, we relied on 
foreign aid. But the Korean people believed in one thing, and that was 
education. Even if parents had to work day and night and drink nothing 
but water to chase away their hunger, they spared nothing when it came 
to their children's education. My parents were the same. They were 
determined to give their children hope by giving them a chance to 
learn.
  And I was determined to learn. I used to be a street vendor selling 
anything and everything during the day and attending night school. 
After night school, however, going on to college was but a dream. Yet I 
managed to get in through the help of many others around me. Although I 
had to wake up every day at 4 a.m. to haul garbage to pay my way 
through college, I knew that learning was the key. My parents, all 
Korean parents, believed that education was the best way to break that 
vicious cycle of poverty.
  These children later became the lead actors in this great drama. 
Their sweat and their tears is what transformed Korea from being one of 
the poorest countries in the world to one of the most dynamic today.
  Our desire for learning continues. Currently, there are more than 
100,000 Korean students studying in your schools. These young students 
will become the leaders of tomorrow. They will become scientists, 
doctors, bankers, engineers, teachers, and artists. They will continue 
to contribute to making both of our countries stronger. And they will 
bring our two countries closer together.
  Distinguished Members, today the United States and Korea have one of 
the closest, most important economic relationships in the world. For 
both countries it has brought untold benefits and opportunities. Our 
trade in goods, services, and mutual investments has grown 
dramatically. We invest in you and you invest in us because we are 
interdependent. When we trade together, we grow together. When we build 
together, we rise together. And when we work together, we win together.
  We see this in the towns and cities and States this Congress 
represents. We see it in West Point, Georgia, where a new Kia 
automotive plant is expected to create 1,400 new businesses and more 
than 20,000 new jobs nearby. We see it in Midland, Michigan, as well, 
where Dow Chemical, a distinctly American company, and Kokam 
Engineering, a distinctly Korean company, have joined together to make 
some of the world's most advanced batteries--the building blocks for a 
new era of electric vehicles. I understand that Vice President Biden 
has been to the opening ceremony of this plant. And we have more than 
10,000 Korean companies, including global conglomerates such as Samsung 
and LG, doing business and investing all across America.
  And, of course, we see such cooperation in Korea as well. Just west 
of Seoul, a GM-Korea joint venture is manufacturing and selling 
Chevrolets to Korean consumers. Sales are up 27 percent in just the 
first 6 months since the brand was launched, and 55 percent of Koreans 
say they would consider buying one. And our cooperation is not just 
limited to automobiles. Many others, from microchips to biotech, 
provide similar examples of such cooperation. Our mutual investment is 
yet another good example.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, distinguished Members of Congress, 
thanks to all of you in this Chamber, our economic ties are becoming 
even stronger. The Korea-U.S. free trade agreement was ratified by this 
Congress here last night. Here, where the Mutual Defense Treaty was 
signed by Korea and the United States in 1953, a new chapter in our 
relationship has opened. Our relationship has become stronger. This 
agreement is a major step toward future growth and job creation. It is 
a win for our corporations.
  The Korea-U.S. free trade agreement will be able to ensure continued 
growth and also create jobs. And this is a win for our corporations, it 
is a win for our workers, a win for small businesses, and a win for all 
the innovators on both sides the Pacific.
  Perhaps you have heard what the experts have said: America's economic 
output will grow more due to the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement than 
from America's last nine trade agreements combined, and that the tariff 
reductions and many of the fair labor provisions, rigorous 
environmental standards, and strong protections for intellectual 
property rights will be beneficial for all of us. These provisions will 
improve our business environments. These provisions will allow for us 
to widely share the benefits of trade more than ever. In this century 
much has changed, but not this basic truth: Open markets build strong 
economies. And in this 21st century I firmly believe economies must be 
green to grow.

  Unfortunately, this was not always our way. For far too long in my 
country, growth came at a cost. Rapid economic growth cast a dark 
shadow in our environment, in the air that we breathed, and the water 
that we drank. This is why when I was mayor of Seoul, I considered it 
my calling to restore Seoul's Cheonggyecheon Stream, which was 
neglected for decades. The restored stream revitalized the surrounding 
landscape, it revived commercial activity, and enriched the lives of 
the people in countless ways.
  As President, I announced a new national vision--one of low-carbon 
green growth. And it is our goal to become the world's seventh-largest 
green economy by 2020. The benefits of green growth are real. This is 
why we are investing heavily in the research and development of next-
generation power technologies such as the smart grids. This is why we 
are trying to become the leader in renewable energy sources. This is 
why we've required our biggest carbon-emitting companies to set 
greenhouse gas targets this year. And they will, of course, work to 
deliver on this promise.
  I am aware that the U.S. is also taking measures to ensure a 
sustainable future. Some of those steps we are taking together. For 
example, in 2009, our governments signed a statement of intention to 
work together on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and power 
technologies. The Chicago Smart Building Initiative is a good example 
of our cooperation between our two countries.
  And during my visit this time, our two governments signed a statement 
of intent on the Joint Research Project on Clean Energy. Joint 
investments and cooperation will only increase. Our work will lead to 
tangible results that will benefit mankind. As our countries move down 
this path, we will be moving even closer together, and we will move 
forward together.
  Distinguished Members, ladies and gentlemen, the strength of a 
country is not measured in dollars alone. Our mutual defense keeps us 
strong and it keeps us safe. Ours is an alliance forged in blood. That 
is how we Koreans describe our Mutual Defense Treaty.
  Fifty-eight years ago today in October 1953, here in Washington, 
D.C., the Republic of Korea and the United States signed the Mutual 
Defense Treaty. In the words of that treaty, we pledged our common 
determination to defend ourselves against external armed attack so that 
no potential aggressor could be under the illusion that either of us 
stands alone in the Pacific area. But we know that defending freedom is 
never easy; it is never free of cost or free of risk. For this, I want 
to thank you. I thank you on behalf of the Korean people for standing 
by us.
  We also want to thank the 28,500 American men and women in uniform 
who serve today in Korea. We want to thank each and every one of you 
for keeping faith with the generation of your parents and grandparents, 
defending freedom on the Korean Peninsula. We thank you for your 
service.
  Today, I would also like to thank the Korean War veterans who are 
here with us today. They are Representatives John Conyers, Charles 
Rangel, Sam Johnson, and Howard Coble. We thank these gentlemen for 
their service. To these gentleman and to millions of others, the Korean 
War or the peninsula are not abstract concepts, and they're

[[Page H6885]]

not concepts for me either. My older sister and younger brother, both 
just children, were killed in that war. I will never forget them. I 
will never forget how my mother tried so hard to keep them alive. With 
the war raging all around us, there were no doctors, and we couldn't 
afford to buy medicine. All my mother could do was stay up all night 
and pray to God. Many Koreans still live with such pain.
  I recognize the reality that Korea has been split in two, but I will 
never accept it as a permanent condition. The two Koreas share the same 
language, history, and customs. We are one people. In both Koreas, 
there are families who have never spoken to their loved ones for more 
than half a century. And my hope is that these people and all 70 
million Koreans will enjoy real happiness and real peace. And for this, 
we must first lay the foundation for peace on the Korean Peninsula. And 
upon this foundation, we must strengthen cooperation between the two 
Koreas. We must seek the path that will lead us towards mutual 
prosperity. And we must achieve peaceful unification.
  A unified Korea will be a friend to all and a threat to none. A 
unified Korea will contribute to peace and prosperity, not only in 
northeast Asia, but far beyond. We therefore must achieve the 
denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and North Korea must give up 
their nuclear ambitions.
  Korea and the United States stand united. We are in full agreement 
that the Six Party Talks is an effective way to achieve tangible 
progress. We are in full agreement that we must also pursue dialogue 
with North Korea. However, we must also maintain our principled 
approach. A North Korea policy that is firmly rooted upon such 
principles is the key that will allow us to ultimately and 
fundamentally resolve this issue.
  North Korea's development is in our collective interest, and this is 
what we want. However, this depends on its willingness to end all 
provocations and make genuine peace. We will work with you and the 
international community so that North Korea makes the right choice.
  Our Mutual Defense Treaty has ensured stability and prosperity to 
flourish not only on the Korean Peninsula, but across northeast Asia. 
Northeast Asia today is a more dynamic region than ever. And economic 
change in this region brings geopolitical change, and it brings shifts 
in the balance of power that has long prevailed.
  The United States, as a key player of the Asia-Pacific region and as 
a global leader, has vital interests in northeast Asia. For northeast 
Asia to play a more constructive rule in global affairs, there must be 
peace and stability in the region.
  And your leadership that has ensured peace and stability of northeast 
Asia and beyond in the 20th century must remain supreme in the 21st 
century. The ideals that you represent and the leadership that allows 
for such ideals to become true must continue.
  There remain many challenges in the world today, and your leadership 
is vital. Terrorism, proliferation of WMD, climate change, energy, 
poverty, and disease; these are just a few of the challenges that 
require your leadership.
  Our free trade agreement has significance because it will be a force 
for stability, because lasting stability, again, depends on economic 
opportunity being open and robust. Our relationship can be the catalyst 
that generates growth and stability all along the Pacific Rim. And, in 
doing so, it will make clear how fully our fates are connected.
  More than ever, Korea is looking beyond the horizon. It will 
willingly embrace its international responsibilities. It will work to 
resolve global challenges.
  Since becoming President of Korea, my vision for Korea in the coming 
decades is for a global Korea.
  Global Korea has joined United Nations peacekeeping operations in 
East Timor, Lebanon, and Haiti. Korea was the third-largest contributor 
of troops to the coalition forces in Iraq. We have sent reconstruction 
teams to rebuild Afghanistan. Our naval vessels support the United 
States and EU in fighting against piracy off the coast of Somalia.
  We will take part in the international effort in bringing democracy 
to Libya and rebuilding its shattered economy. And we have pledged to 
double our overseas development assistance by 2015. And next month the 
High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness will be held in Busan, Korea's 
second-largest city.
  In these and countless other ways, Korea will carry out its duties as 
a responsible member of the international community. As we face the 
many global challenges that lie ahead, we will promote universal 
values.
  In 2009, when President Obama and I signed the Joint Vision for the 
Future of the Alliance, we agreed to work closely together in resolving 
regional and international issues, based on shared values and mutual 
trust. And during our summit today we renewed this commitment. We also 
reaffirmed our commitment to face the challenges of today for the 
generation of tomorrow.
  Our alliance will grow, and it will continue to evolve. And it will 
prevail.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, distinguished Members of Congress, 
before I part, I want to thank you again for the honor of addressing 
this Congress. I would also like to thank President Obama and Mrs. 
Obama for their invitation.
  I also take this opportunity to pay tribute to the 1.5 million 
Korean-Americans who have been contributing to this great country. As 
President of Korea, I am proud that they are giving back to the country 
that gave them so much. I am also deeply grateful to you and the 
American people for giving them the chance to make their dreams come 
true.
  Your ideals and aspirations have been ours, as they have been for 
much of the world.
  Half a century ago, young Americans served in the Korean War ``for 
duty beyond the seas.'' And today, our peoples hear the same call. It 
may not always be active combat, not always to brave the rugged 
mountains or bitter winters, but it is an important duty nonetheless, a 
charge to help create a more peaceful, more prosperous world.
  In the 21st century, duty and destiny calls us once again. As before, 
let us rise to meet these challenges. Let us go together. Together and 
forward.
  Thank you.
  [Applause, the Members rising.]
  At 4 o'clock and 48 minutes p.m., His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, 
President of the Republic of Korea, accompanied by the committee of 
escort, retired from the Hall of the House of Representatives.
  The Deputy Sergeant at Arms escorted the invited guests from the 
Chamber in the following order:
  The Members of the President's Cabinet;
  The Acting Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

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