A historic moment occurred on Capitol Hill Thursday, as the president of the Republic of Korea addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.
President Yoon Suk Yeol delivered a message of cooperation and appreciation, while warning about threats facing the world.
"Korea is winning the hearts of global citizens," Yoon said. "It is dynamic. Freedom is thriving."
One of the biggest concerns comes from North Korea. Yoon said the nuclear threat posed by the reclusive nation stretches beyond the Korean peninsula.
"My government will respond very firmly to provocations, but at the same time, we'll keep the door open for dialogue on North Korea's denuclearization," Yoon said.
He pledged to raise awareness about the human rights abuses in North Korea while continuing to promote freedom there. He also spoke of the threat to democracy and encouraged leaders to work together to protect truth.
"False propaganda and disinformation corrupt intellectualism. They threaten democracy and the rule of law," Yoon said.
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Yoon's speech applauded the economic investments both countries have made with each other and the jobs those investments have created. Those investments will support South Korea's booming semiconductor industry, a vital resource for electronics and electric vehicles in the U.S. and globally.
The speech Thursday marked the end of an eventful visit to Washington. Earlier in the week, Yoon had a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden, visited a NASA facility with Vice President Kamala Harris and enjoyed a state dinner at the White House.
The visit celebrates the 70-year alliance between the U.S. and South Korea that began at the end of the Korean War, with Yoon's time in Washington underscoring the alliance's importance in east Asia.
"Today our alliance is stronger than ever, more prosperous together and more connected like no other," Yoon said. "Indeed, it has been the linchpin safeguarding our freedom, peace and prosperity."
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