Biden notes 'historic friendship' with South on armistice anniversary
Speaking on the anniversary of the signing of the Korean War armistice, U.S. President Joe Biden said Monday the United States is proud of its "historic friendship and trust" with South Korea, calling their shared wartime sacrifice as having imparted on the two countries "an indelible determination to sustain peace and promote regional stability."
The U.S. president’s comments came as the two allies marked the anniversary of the signing of the armistice in July 1953 that ended fighting in the Korean War, which began in June 1950.
“Our commitment to protecting peace on the Korean Peninsula has endured and grown in the ensuing decades. We are immensely proud of our historic friendship and the trust we share with the Republic of Korea,” the U.S. president said in a statement released by the White House.
“The service and sacrifices of both our nations have left an indelible determination to sustain peace and promote regional stability,” Biden said.
Approximately 1.8 million American soldiers made up the bulk of the United Nations forces that defended South Korea from a North Korean invasion launched in June 1950. The North was later joined by China as it entered the country in December.
Proclaiming the establishment of July 27 as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, the president said in the statement, “We shall never forget the service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Biden also proclaimed the establishment of a Wall of Remembrance at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C., to honor more than 36,000 U.S. service members and 7,000 members of the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army who fell during the war.
“I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War Veterans,” he said.
The president also argued that the alliance between South Korea and the United States continues to remain crucial in maintaining stability and promoting economic growth in the region.
“Training side-by-side with the Korean military, our Armed Forces abroad help keep the watch while proudly upholding the legacy of those serving before them. Our partnership remains crucial to maintaining peace and stability today, and to expanding economic growth in a critical region of the world,” he said.
Some 28,500 U.S. troops remain stationed in the South as a safeguard against renewed North Korea aggression.
Biden noted that despite that lack of an official peace treaty terminating the formal state of war which continues to exist between North and South Korea, South Korea thrived.
“The armistice made possible the exchange of prisoners of war as well as an opportunity to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Almost 70 years later, that settlement still has not been reached, and the Korean Peninsula remains divided along the 38th parallel,” he said in the statement.
“Yet, the Republic of Korea has grown into a thriving, vibrant country, and the enduring relationship between our two nations has flourished through decades of peace.”
BY MICHAEL LEE [email@example.com]