The United States and South Korea continue to share an increasingly dynamic partnership that includes military, economic and development issues.
"The close ties," said Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel, "are important because of the challenges and opportunities in front of us."
"The U.S.-South Korea alliance, forged in war, built on trust, and tested repeatedly, is stronger than ever," said Assistant Secretary Russel. This military alliance will only grow stronger as each country invests in its armed forces and joint capabilities on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S., South Korea, and its allies have shown North Korea that a brighter future is possible if it chooses a different path – one without nuclear weapons and destabilizing provocations.
Due to its self-imposed isolation, North Korea has cut itself off from prosperity and the dynamism of Northeast Asia has passed it by.
South Korea on the other hand is leading the way economically in the region. South Korea has become the United States sixth largest trading partner. By 2017 nearly 95 percent of consumer and industrial products will be duty free under the United States free trade agreement with South Korea.
Bilateral investment has also grown steadily. In 1996, Samsung opened what is now one of the most advanced semiconductor fabrication plants in the world in Austin, Texas. All told, Samsung supports over 4,000 jobs in Austin, and they’re still expanding. Meanwhile, General Motors is the largest U.S. investor in Korea, making a fifth of its global production there.
Both countries must remain resolute in the fight against terrorism, said Assistant Secretary Russel. South Korea is a member of the Counter-ISIL Coalition and its Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group. It was among the first to commit $1 million to a U.N. Development Program stabilization project in areas liberated from ISIL in Iraq.
On the issues of global development and fighting epidemic diseases, South Korea has just agreed to spend $100 million over the next five years to help 13 countries fight against infectious diseases.
The U.S. looks forward to working with South Korea as it continues to develop its role as a regional military and economic leader.