U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Alexander Vershbow said that following the recent Camp David Summit between U.S. President George Bush and President Lee Myung-bak, the United States and the Republic of Korea "are now embarked on a joint effort to add new facets to our relationship in order to transform it into a 21st Century Strategic Alliance."
Ambassador Vershbow spoke at a recent conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Center for North Korean Studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul. He said the April Camp David Summit laid the foundation for a second summit in July.
"What was originally a military alliance has bloomed into a robust and multi-faceted partnership," said Ambassador Vershbow. "Likewise, the security challenges we face are also now multi-faceted: global terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and threats to human rights and democracy here in the region and around the world," he said. The Ambassador expressed appreciation for the Republic of Korea’s efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq to promote democracy, fight terrorism, and prevent the proliferation of dangerous weapons. ROK troops have also helped to stabilize the situation in southern Lebanon.
Ambassador Vershbow said the U.S. looks forward to working with the Republic of Korea on such challenges as climate change, renewable energy technologies, preventing the spread of disease, fighting poverty and promoting sustainable economic development.
President Bush and President Lee agreed to maintain current troop levels in Korea. They also agreed to continue to work closely with other members of the Six-Party Talks to bring about a denuclearized North Korea through diplomatic and peaceful means. The U.S. is looking to expand exchanges and contacts between Americans and Koreans. It hopes to resolve its trade issues and broaden U.S.-Korean economic partnership. The ROK-U.S. relationship, said Ambassador Vershbow, is based not only on shared interests, "but on the shared values of freedom and democracy – and a shared commitment to defend them."