“I’m honored to welcome to the White House President Moon…”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited the White House Friday, joining President Joe Biden in hailing the strength of the U.S.-South Korea alliance after the strains of the Trump era.
Both leaders also expressed a desire to engage in North Korea diplomacy - trying to reduce tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
“My team consulted closely with President Moon's team throughout the process of our DPRK review, and we both are deeply concerned about the situation. Our two nations also share a willingness to engage diplomatically with the DPRK to take pragmatic steps that will reduce tensions as we move toward the ultimate goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
Additionally, the two allies said they would work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild the global economy and address climate change.
Earlier in the day, both leaders joined together to award the Medal of Honor to 94-year-old Korean War veteran Ralph Puckett, a retired U.S. army colonel.
Puckett was commended for his valor in a 1950 battle over a strategic hill, fighting Chinese troops in North Korea.
During statements, Moon called Puckett’s sacrifice commendable:
"Without the sacrifice of veterans including Colonel Puckett and the 8th Army Range Company, freedom and democracy we endure today couldn't have blossomed in Korea."
This marked the first time a foreign leader had attended a Medal of Honor ceremony.
Biden called it a testament to the strength of the U.S.-South Korean alliance.