한철수 / 본 협회 회장
First of all, let me introduce General Kim Byeong-Joo, who was appointed Deputy Commander of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command, on August 11 of this year, and is attending this event for the first time.
General Kim, who was commissioned in the 40th Korea Military Academy graduating class in 1984, is an outstanding officer adept at both literary and martial arts. Since his commissioning, General Kim has held various commanders positions and staffs roles, serving as deputy director general for strategic planning in the ROK JCS J5, Commanding general of the 30th Mechanized Infantry Division, Commanding general of Army Missile Command, and Commanding general of the 3rd Corps. He holds a PHD in politics from Kyonggi University.
It is expected that he will make significant contributions to further reinforcing the strength of the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command and promoting friendship between Korea and America.
Ladies and gentleman, please give a big round of applause to welcome General Kim Byeong-Joo.
Marc Knapper, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim U.S. Embassy Seoul,
General Kim Byeong-Joo, Deputy Commander of ROK-U.S. CFC
and his lovely wife,
Major General Michael Minihan, Chief of Staff of UNC/USFK,
and his lovely wife,
Officials of U.S. Embassy Seoul,
Generals and officers, ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command,
Distinguished guests, KAFS members, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to sincerely thank all of you for attending tonight’s event, even though it comes at a busy time at the end of the year.
Recently, situations surrounding the Korean Peninsula have unfolded dramatically. Uncertainty has grown with the possibility of conflict between U.S. President Trump’s plan for a peaceful Pacific and Indian Ocean, which he explained during his first visit to Asia, and Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt, One Road strategy’, so called “Chinese Dream”, to return China to before the Opium Wars of the early 1840s, to regain hegemony and expand the influence of China across the oceans and land, which he revealed specifically during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
Despite the changing international relationships, however, the relationship between Korea and America should be further strengthened. As you know well, Korea has deterred the war on the Korean Peninsula based on the ROK-U.S. alliance, maintained peace over the past more than 60 years, caused liberal democracy to take root in its territory, and grew to become one of the top ten economic powers in the world.
We should prepare the tangible threats from North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missiles through strong cooperation with America and international institutions and the ROK-U.S. Combined Strength.
We should also create an environment surrounding the Korean Peninsula that will help realize continued development for yet another 60 years, mainly based on the ROK-U.S. alliance. The ROK-U.S. alliance was forged when the two countries fought shoulder to shoulder, trusting each other, against the North Korean invasion of the South in the Korean War. It is a special alliance that has developed into a comprehensive alliance, to include an economic alliance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let us do our best to make contributions to reinforce the ROK-U.S. alliance.
In conclusion, I would like to say thanks once again for attending tonight’s event, despite your busy schedules at year end. And I hope that tonight’s event would contribute to promoting greater friendship between our two countries. I sincerely thank KAFS members and others who have helped support this event. Especially, I would like to thank Jung In Kwi, Chairman of 2017 Korea-America Year-End Friendship Night Preparatory Committee, and the Committee members. Please enjoy tonight’s dinner, the good company and performance.
As Christmas is coming, I wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy new year.
Let’s all go together (Kachi-kapshida)!