Thank you very much. Melania and I are honored to welcome President Moon of South Korea and his lovely wife Madam Kim to the White House.
Mr. President, let me be the first to congratulate you on your election, tremendous election victory, and also the people of South Korea for providing such an incredible example of democracy for the world to see. It was very exciting I must see and congratulations.
This morning President Moon and Vice President Pence laid a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the Korean War. It’s a beautiful ceremony.
We will never forget that Americans and Koreans bravely fought and died together for a free Korea. To the Korean and American veterans of that war, great people, we are eternally grateful for your service and for your sacrifice.
More than six decades after our partnership was forged in the fires of war, the alliance between the United States and South Korea is the cornerstone of peace and security of a very very dangerous part of the world. The link between our countries cemented in battle is now also tied together by culture, commerce, and common values.
Together we are facing the reckless and brutal regime of North Korea. The nuclear and ballistic missile programs of that regime require a determined response.
North Korean dictatorship has no regard for the safety and security of its people or its neighbors and has no respect for human life and that’s been proven over and over again. Millions of North Korea’s own citizens have suffered and starved to death.
And the entire world just witnessed what the regime did to our wonderful Otto Warmbier. I thank President Moon for expressing his condolenses on the travesty of Otto’s death. Our thoughts and our prayers remain with his wonderful family.
The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years and it has failed. And frankly, that patience is over.
We’re working closely with South Korea and Japan as well as partners around the world on a range of diplomatic security and economic measures to protect our allies and our own citizens from this menace known as North Korea.
The US calls on other regional powers and all responsible nations to join us in implementing sanctions and demanding that the North Korean regime choose a better path and do it quickly and a different future for its long-suffering people.
Our goal is peace, stability, and prosperity for the region. But the US will defend itself. Always will defend itself. Always.
And we will always defend our allies. As part of that commitment, we are working together to ensure fair burden sharing in support of the US military presence in South Korea.
Burden sharing is a very important factor. A factor that is becoming more and more prevalent, certainly in this administration.
We are also working to create a fair and reciprocal economic relationship.
For when the U.S.-Korea trade deal was signed in 2011 to 2016, you know who signed it, you know who wanted it, our trade deficit with South Korea has increased by more than 11 billion dollars. Not exactly great deal.
I was gratified to learn about the new investments South Korean companies are making in the US. This month, Cheniere is sending its first shipment of American liquefied natural gas to South Korea in a deal worth more than 25 billion dollars.
It’s great. We will do more to remove barriers to reciprocal trade and market access.
We talked last night and today about some tough trade issues. Like autos and steel. And I’m encouraged by President Moon’s assurances that he will work to create a level playing field so that American workers and business and especially automakers can have a fair shake at dealing with South Korea.
South Korean companies sell cars in America. American companies should have that same exact privilege on a reciprocal basis, and I’m sure we’ll be able to work that out.
In addition, I’ve called on South Korea to stop enabling the export of dumped steel.
These would be important steps forward in our trading relationship. Very important steps. They have to be made. Not fair to the American workers if they’re not and they will be.
Our team are going to get to work on these issues. And they’re going to sign a deal that’s great to South Korea and great to the US.
Mr. President’ I’m thrilled that you’re here today and deeply honored you choose to go to the U.S. as your first foreign trip as President.
I greatly enjoyed our dinner last night and the many productive discussions we’ve already started having today. I look forward to working with you for many years to come to strengthen our alliance, protect our citizens from common threats, and deepen the enduring bonds of friendship, between Americans and the great people of South Korea.
Thank you very much President Moon. Thank you.