U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, welcomed South Korea's President Park Geun-Hye to Washington. Tuesday, Senator Cardin introduced a bipartisan resolution commemorating the 60th anniversary of the US-Republic of Korea (ROK) Alliance and congratulating President Park on her historic election as Korea's first woman president.
"President Park is a testament to her nation's resilience. Like her country, she has courageously weathered difficulties and emerged as a strong leader on the global stage. Her visit comes at an opportune time to underscore the solidarity and cooperation between our two countries.
"This year we celebrate 60 years of the US-ROK Alliance, established by our Mutual Defense Treaty. More than a military alliance, it is a comprehensive partnership that has proven fruitful and productive. This is an historic anniversary of our friendship, as well as the end of the Korean War.
"Since the end of the war, the Republic of Korea has practiced restraint and mature diplomacy in the face of tremendous threats, continued bellicose rhetoric, and provocative actions from North Korea. This is in no small part due to the strength of the US-ROK alliance and our close cooperation. The United States must work with our ally to preserve stability on the Korean peninsula and in the broader region
"And we must not forget the humanitarian crisis that is besieging the North Korean people at the hands of a ruthless authoritarian state. The international community should separate humanitarian concerns from politics and provide dire assistance to those most in need. Congress and the Administration must track the delivery of aid to make sure it reaches the people who so desperately need it. The humanitarian crisis is further compounded by gross human rights violations. These human rights violations merit international condemnation and accountability.
"I have great concerns about North Korea's political trajectory. We must use all of the diplomatic, military, financial, and multi-lateral tools at our disposal in a newly coordinated effort to move beyond the current stalemate. The United States will not reward bad behavior, but I believe that a broader humanitarian engagement with the people of North Korea could enhance regional peace and security. President Park Geun-Hye has taken a similar approach. I applaud her tremendous courage, and welcome her visit on this historic occasion."