Marc E. Knapper
Charge d’Affaires ad interim, U.S. Embassy Seoul
I think the Vice Minister Cho just said everything that I wanted to say, it’s an honor again to be here to once again be invited and be asked to speak at an event in which we have so many people on whose shoulders this alliance rests everday.
And what a time to be doing this event, such a pivotal moment in the history of the US-ROK alliance, just looking around the room, I see so many friends shoulder to shoulder over many years over decades to ensure security and freedom of our two nations and peace and prosperity in this part of the world.
Always ready to fight tonight, and the United States and the Republic of Korea together have built an enduring alliance forged in blood, which is responsible for the unprecedented period of peace and prosperity in North East Asia.
And following two North-South summits and the successful summit the president Trump had with Kim Jeong-Eun in Singapore last week, we can now perhaps even see a future with even greater peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
As we all know the DPRK has committed to work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. A commitment which only six months ago seemed unimaginable. In addition, I think we should be particularly grateful that within the summit document that was produced last week we have a commitment from North Korea to recover and to repatriate the remains of POWs to MIAs whom we lost in the Korean War.
We are under no illusions that there is a lot of work ahead of us. We are just at the beginning, not the end. But I am confident that working together with our South Korean allies, we will make best and fullest use of the opportunity before us to ensure that we have a brighter future for all of us here on Peninsula.
Of course, tonight, we’re here to celebrate the important contributions and sacrifice that our military service members have made in support of this alliance. Soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, American and Korean you have always been there for the foundation of our alliance until today.
So, this is why I want congratulate, in particular, all the award recipients from tonight’s ceremony. We value your devotion to promoting peace and security, and friendship here in Korea, and sincerely thank you for your work and your service. We are grateful to have so many wonderful men and women serving here and we’re proud to honor and support you tonight.
And of course, our deepest gratitude goes to Korea America Friendship society and its leadership for honoring our service people in this way and for promoting everyday a strong and vital US-Korea alliance.
And this is an alliance that has never been stronger. And together the United States and the Republic of Korea will continue to confront the challenges before us, never forgetting our shared commitment to freedom, which has made our alliance and friendship so strong and durable.
Thank you very much.