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Authority to Extend the United States-Republic of Korea Nuclear Cooperation Agreement

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank our gracious chairman for the time.

I rise in full support of H.R. 2449, an important bipartisan bill that will extend the U.S.-South Korea civilian nuclear energy agreement for another 2 years.

South Korea is indeed an important ally of the United States, and our bilateral relationship is a cornerstone of America's national security interests in Asia. By passing this stopgap measure, Mr. Speaker, we will avoid the expiration of the original 40-year agreement and allow the United States and South Korea to continue to negotiate on a renewed agreement in good faith.

If we do not pass this bill, the current agreement will expire early next year. This would not only cause damage to the U.S.-South Korea relationship, but it will also harm the United States manufacturers who provide parts and services to South Korea's energy industry and will negatively impact the technological, safety, and nonproliferation efforts of both of our countries in the civilian nuclear energy sector.

Mr. Speaker, South Korea has become a major user of domestic nuclear power, with the partnership of American technology. Nuclear power provides about one-third of all of South Korea's electricity, and South Korea is looking to even further expand that percentage. They are looking to the United States and American businesses to help them achieve their goals.

South Korea's partnership with America for civilian nuclear projects already has resulted in billions of dollars for our economy and has created thousands of jobs. Continued cooperation with South Korea would bring more revenue to America and create much-needed jobs for Americans. But this can only happen, Mr. Speaker, if our two countries can negotiate a long-term agreement.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.

Mr. ROYCE. I yield the gentlewoman an additional 30 seconds.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. I thank the chairman.

They cannot negotiate this when they're constantly watching the clock, which I should have done as well. Passing this bill will give them the much-needed time to focus on the negotiations and finally come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

So I urge my colleagues to support this strong bipartisan and much-needed bill that will help the U.S. economy, U.S. jobs, and strengthen the alliance between the United States and our key trading partner in South Korea.


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