Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was in Seoul, Republic of Korea today to meet with senior Korean officials to discuss global supply chain security, participate in a naturalization ceremony for U.S. service members stationed abroad, deliver remarks at the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
"Over the past six decades, the United States and the Republic of Korea have not only become good friends and allies, but also strong trading partners," said Secretary Napolitano. "These bonds are a point of pride for Americans and Koreans alike, and our partnership has only grown deeper over the years through trade and travel."
Secretary Napolitano joined Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance Hyun Oh-Seok at the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss the importance of international partnerships, and how security and trade enhance one another. Since Korea's Visa Waiver Program designation, there has been a significant increase in the number of Korean citizens who have traveled to the United States under the VWP. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, there were 228,000 Korean Visa Waiver travelers. In FY 2011 there were over 645,000 -- almost a tripling. Korea now ranks in the top ten of all VWP countries in terms of VWP visitors to the United States.
During her remarks, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the reciprocal agreement between the two nations' trusted traveler programs--the U.S. Global Entry program and Korea Smart Entry Service. Travelers who use the Global Entry kiosk on average experience reduced wait times of 70 percent over travelers going through traditional passport inspection.
Additionally, the United States and Korea today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation on global supply chain security, including working together to strengthen air cargo security, developing new supply chain technologies, conducting joint investigations, and promoting common standards for assessing supply chain risk.
In meetings with Korea National Policy Agency Commissioner General Lee Sung-Han and Prosecutor General Chae Don-Wook, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the strong working relationship DHS components have with their Korean law enforcement counterparts. In 2010, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Korean Supreme Prosecution Service (SPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation and collaboration to investigate issues that include counter-proliferation, intellectual property rights, cyber crime, money laundering, and human trafficking and smuggling.
Secretary Napolitano also met with U.S. Forces Korea Commander General James Thurman, administered the Oath of Allegiance in a naturalization ceremony for six U.S. service members stationed abroad, and laid a wreath at the War Memorial of Korea to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
For more information, please visit www.dhs.gov.