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South Korean President To Address U.S. Congress; Yoon: Alliance With U.S. Has Ensured Our Safety And Security; Yoon Suk Yeol Marks 70th Anniversary Of Alliance Between Washington And Seoul; Yoon: North Korea's "Obsession" With Nuclear Weapons Throwing Its Population Into Poverty; South Korean President Addressing U.S. Congress. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 27, 2023 - 11:00   ET




LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: This hour South Korea's President is set to address Congress as the U.S. seeks to deter North Korean nuclear threats.

But first your headlines this hour; Sudan's tenuous three days these fires due to expire in just a few hours, cautious today and around Khartoum are

undermining that truce, and making the prospects of extending it uncertain.

Russia continues to pound targets in Southern Ukraine a speculation mounts about the timing of unexpected Ukrainian counter offensive. And in a

landmark decision, the Pope will allow women to vote in an influential meeting of bishops. Plus right wing demonstrators are rallying outside the

Knesset to show support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's judicial reform legislation.

Well, any moment now South Korea's President is expected to address a joint session of U.S. Congress. His speech will mark a 70 year alliance between

Washington and Seoul. This comes after Yoon Suk-Yoel and U.S. President Joe Biden announced a key security agreement to deter North Korean aggression.

CNN's Arlette Saenz joins us now from Washington. It certainly has been a key state visit. We saw the South Korean President last night surprising

guests about White House dinner, singing American Pie marking the 70th anniversary of this alliance leader certainly looked quite close last

night. What's the status of U.S. South Korean relations right now?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, and the President had invited South Korean President Yoon here to the White House to celebrate

that 70 year alliance. But you actually have seen these two men kind of develop this relationship over the course of the past year as South Korea's

President Yoon came into office.

Biden visited Seoul shortly after his election and they've met over the course of the last year at various summits. But yesterday, President Biden

insisted that the alliance between the two countries is ironclad. The two leaders also rolled out a pretty significant agreement when it comes to

trying to deter North Korea from using any nuclear capabilities.

This agreement, which was known as the Washington Doctrine, essentially was trying to place a marker in the U.S.'s and South Korea's actions and

responses that they're trying to take to deter North Korea from any nuclear options.

Now, one thing that this will include is the U.S. will mobilize some strategic assets to the region that includes sending in a U.S. nuclear

ballistic submarine for the first time sending one to South Korea since the 1980s. What officials say is that they want to be able to visibly show that

they are prepared to act as a deterrent to North Korea.

Now, officials have said that there are not going to station any type of nuclear weapons in the region and the movement of that submarine and other

strategic assets is only being done on a temporary basis. But it highlights the concern that both U.S. and South Korea has about North Korea's nuclear


Yesterday, President Biden issued a very stark warning saying that North Korea should not launch any type of attack against the U.S. South Korea or

other allies and warning that if it does, so it would be the end of the regime that makes that decision to do such a take such an option.

Now we also know that the U.S. has been trying to strengthen relations in the region as China's influence in the region has grown. And also this

visit has played out against the backdrop of those recently leaked classified Pentagon documents which included intelligence relating to South


The South Korean President said that that has not impacted the relationship between the two countries. But in just a short while he will be addressing

Congress. This is only the third time foreign leader has addressed Congress during the Biden Administration.

Macron did so as well as Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. But certainly the focus of the past two days for this administration has been trying to

highlight the ties between the two countries at a time when they're trying to counter both China's influence in the region as well as these

provocations from North Korea.

KINKADE: Yes, and it's interesting watching these live pictures right now as everyone's awaiting the South Korean President to speak to Congress. But

before we get to that, I want to just play some of that vision last night of the South Korean President singing American Pie take a look.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We know this is one of your favorite songs American Pie.

YOON SUK YEOL, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT: A long, long time ago the day the music dies.



KINKADE: It's always good to say a different side to politicians, right? And it was certainly a jovial moment. He got a standing ovation. Will he

get that today in Congress?

SAENZ: Well, I think that just to highlight about that steak dinner, I think that will go down as probably one of the most memorable moments where

you've seen a foreign leader at a steak dinner. This is only the second one that the Biden Administration was able to hold.

They had held one previously in December for French President Macron, but certainly now he will turn to have a little bit more of a serious tone as

he sat to address Congress right now. We know that Congress is also very concerned when it comes to the threats and provocations from North Korea.

We also know that they are concerned about China's growing influence in the region. So this will give President Yoon an opportunity to put to not only

highlight the U.S.'s relationship with South Korea, but also kind of make his case for what more they need to ensure that they are protected from

North Korea, as well as offer his thoughts about China's influence in the region.

KINKADE: And this is an alliance where we're just looking at these live pictures of a South Korean President Yoon making his way through the

lawmakers there ahead of this address to Congress. They're standing they're clapping he's walking along shaking hands.

Clearly this is a strong alliance 70 years in the making of both the U.S. and South Korea have something to gain from this relationship. We do expect

his speech to talk about the key values of freedom, democracy and independence. What else do we expect to hear when he speaks to Congress?

SAENZ: Well, I think it'll go a lot of what we heard from him here at the White House yesterday as he was with President Biden talking about the

cooperation between the two countries when it comes to a host of issues, including economic initiatives and supply chain issues.

So I think those are all things that he could also be talking about. It's also worth noting that the two men while they were here also talked about

just the long standing ties between the two countries, also relating back to the Korean War.

I think one moment that the President Biden spoke about, as they hosted on arrival ceremony is that they were actually able to identify the remains of

a Medal of Honor recipient who had gone missing during the Korean War.

They talked about how finally they were able to identify those remains and return them to his family. So it kind of points to this deep connection

that you've seen between the two countries for so long, something that both the U.S. and South Korea have been eager to highlight during this visit.

KINKADE: And, of course, this this speech today by the South Korean President in Congress comes not that long after the young employee at the

Pentagon leaked some very key classified documents, some of which appear to show the U.S. spying on South Korea. So you have to wonder whether there

were any hits to trust between the two nations.

SAENZ: Well, the South Korean President did an interview just before his visit to the White House, where he said that the trust between the two

countries cannot be shaken that it cannot be broken. He was trying to kind of downplay any possible rifts that might be caused by the leaks of those

classified documents.

But we do know that the administration has been working the past few weeks trying to talk to allies assure allies in the wake of these leaks, which

was quite embarrassing for the United States for to have that information out in the public on the internet for anyone to see. But the South Korean

President over the course of his visit has tried to stress that he does not believe that the ties between the two countries have been deeply impacted

by these leaks.

KINKADE: All right, Arlette Saenz for us and outside the White House. Good to have you with us. It looks like the South Korean President is just about

to speak to Congress let's listen in.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Member of Congress I have the high privilege and distinct honor to present to you His Excellency Yoon Suk Yeol President

of the Republic of Korea.

YEOL: Mr. Speaker, Madam Vice President, honorable members of the United States Congress, a distinguished guest, ladies and gentleman, dear citizens

of America. A new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.


I stand before that nation with a conviction of freedom believes in the alliance and the result to open a new future. For 234 years, a Congress has

been the symbol of freedom and democracy. This chamber embodies the spirit of constitution. I'm honored to address the members of Congress and the

people of the United States.

Thank you, those Democrats and Republican for passing the resolution, marking the 70th Anniversary of the Alliance. Your support has dignified my

visit and knows that no matter where you see, you stand with Korea.

Over the past century, we have faced many threats. Most of us have always led a war in defense of freedom. Imperial nations fought for colonies, and

as humanity greatly suffered from the two World Wars, America a righteous rheostat trying to defend freedom. But it was not without cost.

We remember the leadership of General MacArthur and Admiral Nimitz. But more than 100,000 American men and women are perished in the Pacific War.

Their sacrifice was not in vain. A U.S. leadership established the new world order based on free trade. It brought peace and prosperity throughout

the world.

But prosperity was limited to free market economies, where communist authoritarian nations did not participate. The world was divided into a

democratic and communist blocks. In 1950, the Korean Peninsula was on the front line.

The Soviet Union help to rearm North Korea, North Korea surprise attack and threaten the peace on the Korean Peninsula and Asia. Korea's freedom and

democracy war on the brink. At that decisive moment the U.S. did not look the other way.

Korean and American soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder and fought bravely. Traitors of our heroes were written a General MacArthur called the enemy of

car with the landing of Inchon and pond ties of the war. Operation Chromite was one of the greatest decisions ever made in the history of war.

The U.S. first Marine Division miraculously broke through a wave of 120,000 Chinese troops at the Battle of Lake Changjin. Sons and Daughters of

America have sacrificed their lives to defend the country they never knew and the people they never met.


In the Battle of Lake Changjin along, a 4500 American service members lost their lives. Over the course of the war, almost 37,000 U.S. soldiers fell.

The Late Colonel William Weber fought in the Battle for heel, three to four in one Jew who lost his right arm and leg.

Yes, this American hero dedicated his life to honoring the noble sacrifice made by the Korean War veterans. Today, we are honored to have his

granddaughter, Ms. Ian Weber with us. And Ms. Weber could you stand up please? On behalf of the Korean people, I would like to thank you deeply.

We salute his noble service and sacrifice. Thank you.

Some of the Korean War heroes are your family and friends. The late John Conyers, Jr., Sam Johnson and Howard Coble, well, veteran congressman who

promoted freedom and democracy the Former Representative Charles Wrangle has been a strong supporter of the alliance. Korea, will never forget the

great American heroes who fought with us to defend freedom.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the Korean War veterans and their families. You did not hesitate to send your sons and daughters,

husbands and wives, a brother and sister. You answer the call to defend the freedom of a country across the Pacific.

I thank the U.S. and its people for honoring the Korean War as a proud legacy. Thank you also for treating the veterans with honor and respect.

The war ended after three years of intense better our two nations a sign the mutual defense treaty and open new era of the alliance ever since the

Korean people rose from the ruins of war, to build a thriving nation, and that every step America has to do together with Korea.

We have many reasons to celebrate our Platinum Anniversary. We have no guarantees of success when it started. But today, our alliance is a

stronger than ever more prosperous together and more connected like no other. Indeed, it has been the linchpin, safeguarding our freedom, peace

and prosperity once a recipient of aid Korea is the only nation in modern history to become a donor.


This it demonstrate the success of our alliance. Let me talk about the history of our alliance. The ties of our cooperation and his changing span

over 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1882.

In the late 19th century, American missionaries have the winery introduce the values of freedom and solidarity to Korea. These values are the

foundations of Korea's Constitution. They have made a huge impact on our independence movement, and the foundations of Korea.

Horace Armando, Halle Appenzeller, Mary Scranton and Luzira Hall are some of the missionaries that served food in Korea at the end of the 19th

century. They build schools and hospitals, they promoted education of women. Their efforts lay the foundations for many Korean women to advance

into society as an educator, a journalist and doctors.

In the early 1960s, the Kennedy Administration recommended Professor -- Halls model for economic roles. President Barra Chung wisely embraced the

idea and pushed economic development forward. It laid the foundation for Korea to become an industrialized country, known as a miracle on the Han


Korea's economic growth rate was unrivaled. Korea was one of the least developed countries after the war. Its annual income was just as $67 per

capita now, its economy ranks 10th in the world.

Shower was once reduced to ashes now; it is one of the world's most vibrant digital cities. Busan was flooded with war refugees. Now, it is the world's

second largest port city in terms of Transshipment volume. It is also binding to -- the World Expo 2030. Korea is winning the hearts of global

citizens. It is dynamic, freedom is thriving, and democracy is robust.

Korea and the U.S. have joined forces to safeguard freedom and democracy throughout the world. Since World War II, Korea dispatched warriors of

freedom. We follow side by side with the U.S. and Afghanistan, Iraq and others.

For over 70 years in the history of the alliance, we walked together in military and security sectors. We also expanded our cooperation and

economic field. Our relationship has evolved from one of a unilateral assistance to a partnership that is mutually beneficial.

The Congress FTA was approved with the full support of the U.S. Congress in 2011. Since then, our bilateral trade has increased by 68 percent. Korea's

company's investment in America has tripled. U.S. Company's investment in Korea has nearly doubled Korean companies contributing to vitalize the U.S.



They are producing EV batteries, semiconductors, cars and other products here in America and more importantly they are creating decent, well-paying

jobs. Take Austin, Texas Samsung semiconductor plant has created nearly 10,000 jobs as of 2020.

Take Brian County Georgia Founder EV and battery plants are expected to be operational by late 2024. It will produce 300,000 electric beakers every

year. It will employ thousands of Americans. And take big city in Michigan and as a harm to ask a sutra and CSS, well, President Biden visited. It is

an example of Korean and American companies merging to achieve even greater growth.

I hope to see more economic cooperation in the other parts of America. In this regard, I count on your keen interest and support my friends, years of

active cultural and people to people exchange have deepen our friendship. This year also marks the 120th Anniversary of Korean Immigration to the


Already Korean immigrants arrived as workers in the sugar cane plantation in Hawaii. Since then, Korean American had made their way into many parts

of the American society. They have played an important role of fostering clause of friendship and writing the history of our alliance.

Representatives Young Kim and Kim Michelle Steel and Marilyn Street land I share with us they are a testament to the alliance spanning generations.

That's true for each party. It is a relief that you are evenly praised across the aisle.

Even harsher is helping to farther deepen our understanding and friendship. Nationality and language differences are no longer barriers. Korean movies

a Parasite and "Minari" have won Oscars. Hollywood film Captain and Avengers are loved by Koreans. I also love -- and Mabry and the Mission

Impossible. And even if you didn't know my name you may know BTS and Black Pink.


BTS beat me to the White House, but I beat them to Capitol Hill. Korean and American singers reaching high places in each other's music chars is no

longer a surprise. The U.S. creates a global platform like Netflix. Korea has produced a popular series such as Squid Game.

We are creating a new pattern of synergy. These cultural exchanges have brought our people closer. According to Chicago Council on Global Affairs,

America's past views of Korea are reaching the highest level since 1978. And according to a Pew survey last year, Koreans passed the abuse of the

U.S. or reached 89 percent in March, the largest increase among all the country's survey.

Korea and the U.S. agreed to set up an assistant program for our students. It has helped them to study and find the jobs actively in each other's

country. Honorable members of Congress, I have two careers in my life. My first job was as a public prosecutor. My second job is serving as the

president of my beloved country.

As prosecutor, my role model was the late Robert Morgenthau. He was the real-life character of District Attorney Adam Schiff in Law & Order. When I

was the Prosecutor General, I printed the book titled Robert Morgenthau, America's eternal attorney. I shared it with my junior prosecutors.

In the preface, I included the phrase, an attorney, who is silent in the face of great evil will not even stop pickpockets in a neighborhood. Today,

our democracy is at risk. Democracy is a community's political decision- making system to protect freedom and human rights. Such a decision making must be basin, truths and freely formed public opinion.

But today, in many parts of the world, force propaganda and this information are distorting the truth and the public opinion. They are a

threatening democracy. The rule of law allows the freedoms of everyone to co-exist. It is upheld by parliamentary democracy, force propaganda and

this information corrupt intellectualism. They threaten democracy and the rule of law.


Such totalitarian forces may conceal and disguise themselves as defenders of democracy or human rights. But in reality, they deny a freedom and

democracy. We must not be fooled by such deception and disguises. We have for so long, protected democracy and the rule of law with our blood and


We must work together and fight the forces of -- and deception that seek to destroy democracy and the rule of law. Those who cherish freedom, also

respect the freedom of others. Thus, freedom brings peace, peace in turn, safeguards the freedom. Freedom and peace are sources of creativity and

innovation. They bring prosperity and abundance.

Our alliance was forged to 70 years of all to defend the Korea's freedom. The alliance has now become a global alliance that safeguards freedom and

peace around the world. Korea will fulfill the responsibilities; it will play its part that matches its economic capacity.

In his 1961 inauguration address, President John F. Kennedy said my fellow citizens of the world ask not what America will do for you, but what

together we can do for the freedom of man. Korea will stand in solidarity with the international community. We will do what we can for the freedom of


Korea with the U.S. will march towards the future. As I took office last year, I pledged to rebuild Korea. A nation belonging to the people are

rooted in freedom, democracy and market economy. A nation that the people can be truly proud of, as it fulfills its role as a responsible member of

the international community.

Together with the U.S., Korea will play the role as a contest for freedom. It will safeguard and broaden the freedom of citizens of the world. But

even as we walked in unison for freedom for 70 years, there is one regime determined to pursue a wrong path. That is North Korea.

The difference is stark between Seoul, the Charles freedom and democracy and Pyongyang, the Charles dictatorship and communism. And North Korea has

abandoned freedom and prosperity and dismissed peace. North Korea's nuclear program and -- provocations cause a serious threat to the peace on the

Korean Peninsula and beyond.


To deter is reckless behavior. The alliance must stand united with determination. As President Reagan once said, there is a price we will not

pay. There is a point beyond which they must not advance. We must make his wars clear to North Korea.

Yesterday, President Biden and I agree to strengthen the U.S. extended deterrence, along with clause Korea U.S. coordination, we need to speed up

Korea, U.S., Japan trilateral security cooperation to counter increasing North Korean nuclear threat.

My government may respond for me to provocations. But at the same time, we will keep the door open for dialogue and North Korea's denuclearization.

Last year, I proposed the audacious initiative. It will significantly improve North Korea's economy and livelihood.

All Pyongyang has to do is to stop his nuclear program and begin a substantive denuclearization process. I once again origin North Korea to

seize its provocations and take the right path Korea with the U.S. will continue to work for North Korea's denuclearization. Thank you.

North Korea's obsession with nuclear weapons and missile is throwing its population into a severe economic crisis and human rights abuses. We must

raise global awareness of dire human rights situation in North Korea. We must not shy away from our duty to promote freedom for North Koreans.

Last month, my government published a report on North Korean human rights. We released it to the public for the first time. The report documents a

wide range of abuses in North Korea. It is based on testimonies of 508 North Korean defectors collected over the past five years.

It records many cases of serious violation of international norm such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights

agreements. Unspeakable and horrendous incident took place men and women being shot and killed for violating COVID-19 prevention measures.

Some being publicly executed for watching and sharing South Korean shows and people being shot in public for possessing the Bible and having faith

we need to raise awareness. We must inform the world of the gravity of North Korea's human rights violations. I asked for your help in improving

North Korea's green condition.


My friend, freedom and democracy are once again under threat. The war against Ukraine is a violation of international law. It is an attempt to

unilaterally changing the status quo with force. Korea strongly condemns the unprovoked armed attack against Ukraine. Thank you.

North Korea invaded us in 1950. Democracies came running to help us. We fought together and kept our freedom. The rest is history. Korea's

experience shows us just how important it is for democracies to uphold solidarity. Korea will stand in solidarity with the free world. We will

actively work to safeguard the freedom of the people of Ukraine and the support their efforts in reconstruction. Thank you.

Honorable Members of Congress so far, a sixth Korean president spoke at this important chamber. The first Korean President, Dr. Rhee Syngman

delivered his speech in 1954. After 35 years, in 1989, President Roh Tae- woo standing at this podium said the followings.

The nations of the Pacific have made open society and market economy and the engine that drive the fastest growing region in the world. The Pacific

will become even more important to the U.S. and Korea will begin to contribute more to the prosperity and peace of the region.

I look forward to the day when some future Korean president may be invited to address this distinguished -- and describe the vision I spoke of today

as an achievement fulfilled, not as tomorrow's hope. President Roh's vision has become a reality. Thank you.

We are currently living in the Indo Pacific era. This reason is home to 65 percent of the global population and 62 percent of the world's GDP. It

accounts for a half of global maritime transportation. Last year, Korea announced its first comprehensive Indo Pacific strategy. Korea is committed

to fostering a free, a peaceful and prosperous in the Pacific based on inclusiveness, trust, and reciprocity.

We will strengthen the rule-based order in the Indo Pacific. We will take comprehensive and multi layered approach in expanding cooperation with key

partners. This also means that the stage for the alliance is expanding. Korea used to receive assistance from U.S. aid. It is now sharing its

experience with developing countries in partnership with the U.S. Korea has greatly increased its ODA budget --.


It is providing tailored programs in tune with the needs of its partners. Yesterday, President Biden and I adopted a joint statement and present a

vision of the alliance in action towards the future. Together, our two countries will broaden our alliance.

Together, we will lead in innovation beyond the security and foreign policy.

We will work closely on Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Technology Bioscience and Open Ran. Our partnership in the cutting-edge semiconductor

industry will contribute to establishing stable and resilient supply chains. It will also address economic uncertainties.

Together, we will open another new successful chapter; we will explore new frontiers in outer space and the cyberspace. Korea and the U.S. are the

world's top technological powers, leading innovation and creativity. Together, we will create a great synergy.

Mr. Speaker, Madam Vice President, and Honorable Members of Congress, our alliance is an alliance of universal values of freedom, human rights, and

democracy are the very foundations of our bonds. Our alliance is for justice. Our alliance is for peace. Our alliance is for prosperity.

Together, our alliance will continue to move towards the future. We will build the world of tomorrow, that opens and the risk opportunities for our

future generations. I look forward to everyone being on board for our new journey together. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.

And may God bless our great alliance. Thank you.

KINKADE: The South Korean President there, Yoon Suk Yeol addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress. Speaking about the 70-year alliance dating

back to the Korean War when sons and daughters of America he said fought for a country they never met and a people they never knew, you can see the

standing ovation there from lawmakers in congress.

President Yoon said the alliance is stronger than ever right now. And he spoke about the threats to democracy and the rule of law and the need to

protect peace, which in turn, he says brings prosperity. Well, I want to bring in Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill and Paula Hancocks in Seoul.

Good to have you both with us listening to that speech. I want to start with you first Melanie. The president now speaking about North Korea as a

threat to the peninsula and beyond and he said, there is a need to continue to work together to protect the mutual values of freedom. What stood out to


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, well, I think it's important to note that this address is coming on the 70th anniversary of

the alliance between the United States and South Korea, which was forged in the aftermath of the Korean War. And President Yoon talked about that war;

he paid tribute to the sacrifices that men and women made in the name of protecting democracy and freedom.

And that was a really moving moment. You saw a lawmaker standing up and applauding in the chamber there. But he said the threats to democracy still

very much exist today. And he said this alliance is a linchpin to protecting democracy all around the world.


He of course, name checks North Korea said, they are a threat to the not only the South Korean peninsula but also beyond. And he called on the

United States to continue to strengthen the alliance to help counter the nuclear threat from North Korea -- and President Biden last night also

rolled out a new security agreement.

But President Yoon also interestingly, mentioned the war in Ukraine and the Russian invasion, he said that is a threat as well. So, he had a big

speech, ended it there with a round of applause talking about the commitment between United States and South Korea and just how important it

is for global democracy.

KINKADE: And Paula, he also spoke about South Korea's rise and how quickly it rose from the Korean War as a developing country to have one of the

fastest rises to become one of the most successful countries in the world with one of the largest economies and he wants to protect that.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, yes, I mean, Lynda, there were a few themes that really ran through that speech the theme of freedom

of democracy, and the rule of law. And the fact that he was highlighting just how South Korea has economically grown in stature to the 10th largest

economy in the world.

Now he got a number of cheers and standing ovations when he mentioned a number of those investments that Korean companies have made in the United

States pointing out just how many jobs have been created for Americans as well. So really knowing to talk to his audience that he got a standing

ovation as well, speaking about hundreds, thousands of jobs that were being created, but it really was a bit of a pitch as well to show just how far

Korea has come.

KINKADE: Paula Hancocks for us in Seoul, Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much for the analysis, much appreciate it. That is CONNECT THE

WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade. We'll have much more on this next hour with "ONE WORLD" and Zain Asher. Stay with us, you're watching CNN.