<!-- IMAGE -->During a recent meeting at the White House, President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak [EEE MYUHNG BAHK] issued a joint vision for the alliance of the United States and South Korea. The goal of the alliance is to ensure a peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for the Korean peninsula, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world.
The two leaders declared that the United States and South Korea will build "a comprehensive strategic alliance of bilateral, regional and global scope."
Both nations share a commitment to fundamental values including open societies, democracy, and free markets. The U.S.- Republic of Korea Mutual Defense Treaty remains the cornerstone of the U.S.-South Korea security relationship -- a relationship that has guaranteed peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia for over fifty years. In order to adapt to changing security needs, South Korea will take the lead role in the combined defense of its country, supported by the presence of U.S. military forces on the peninsula, in the region, and beyond.
The U.S. and South Korea pledged to deepen bilateral trade and investment relations, including by charting a way forward on the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, as well as by cooperating on civil space technology and clean energy research.
Moreover, the alliance will aim to build a better future for all people on the Korean Peninsula, establishing a durable peace on the Peninsula and leading to the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea on the principles of democracy and a market economy. The U.S. and South Korea are committed to the complete and verifiable elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs, as well as ballistic missile programs, and to promoting respect for the fundamental human rights of the North Korean people.
The challenges of our young century, said President Barack Obama, can only be met through partnership, and the United States is honored to partner with the Korean people. We will be resolute in the defense of our security. We will collaborate on behalf of innovation and opportunity. And we will strengthen and deepen the friendship among our people.