(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E150]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                       HON. ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA

                           of american samoa

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, President-elect Park Geun-hye will be 
inaugurated as the eleventh President of the Republic of Korea on 
Monday, February 25, 2013. Madam Park will then become the first freely 
elected woman leader among the nations of Northeast Asia and the first 
woman President of the Republic of Korea
  Madam Park has shattered the glass ceiling for Korean women by 
attaining the highest elected office in the land, achieving this 
remarkable feat before the United States has elected a woman to lead 
our Nation.
  In the traditional Land of the Morning Calm where the slogan ``men 
first, women behind'' was the watchword only a generation ago, Park 
Geun-hye's election is historic. President-elect Park will serve as a 
role model for women--young and old--not only in Asia but around the 
world as they seek to achieve their full potential unfettered by the 
gender limitations of the past.
  Madam Park also raises the possibility of a new beginning in the 
complex and often hostile relationship that has evolved between the two 
Koreas since the tragic division of the Korean peninsula at the end of 
the Second World War. A daughter of a mother slain by a North Korean 
agent in 1974, Madam Park chose to put this painful family tragedy 
aside and travel to North Korea in 2002 and meet the very man, Kim 
Jong-il, who was likely responsible for the murder of her mother. She 
did this for the good of her country, for those numerous divided Korean 
families who have not seen nor heard from their loved ones in sixty 
years, and for a people with a common culture and heritage suddenly 
torn asunder by Cold War politics.
  The Korean people have an old saying that ``when whales fight, shrimp 
get broken'' recognizing the victimization of a small but proud nation 
surrounded by colossal and often hostile neighbors. The healing process 
after sixty years of this externally imposed division symbolized by the 
stark frontier of the DMZ will not be easy. But, as was once said in 
reference to the unfreezing of Sino-American relations, that ``only 
Nixon could go to China,'' so it may one day be said that ``only Park 
Geun-hye, the daughter of an anti-communist general and a martyred 
mother, could reconcile the two Koreas.''
  This coming summer, on July 27th, we will commemorate the sixtieth 
anniversary of the signing of an Armistice which silenced the guns but 
brought no permanent peace on the Korean peninsula. Our aging Korean 
War era veterans, who include four Members of the U.S. House of 
Representatives including the Honorable Charles Rangel, the Honorable 
John Conyers Jr., the Honorable Howard Coble, and the Honorable Sam 
Johnson, often speak of our steadfast friendship with the people of 
South Korea as being one which was forged in the crucible of war.
  The Korean War Memorial, located not far from this House, serves to 
remind us all of the brave men and women of our country ``who answered 
the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never 
met.'' The election of Park Geun-hye symbolizes the achievement of 
those democratic values for which these veterans fought and died.
  I am also certain that America's almost two million strong Korean-
American community who have contributed so much to their adopted 
country are justifiably proud of the democratic and economic miracle of 
their ancestral homeland. The alliance between their old and new 
countries, strengthened by the recent adoption of the U.S.-Korea Free 
Trade Agreement, will only be further invigorated under Madam Park's 
  For historical purposes, I submit this statement to be made part of 
the Congressional Record in tribute to the service, often at great 
personal sacrifice, that President-elect Park Geun-hye has rendered for 
and on behalf of the people of the Republic of Korea. I join my 
colleagues in looking forward to welcoming Madam Park when she makes 
her first official visit to Washington, DC later this year.