South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his trip to Washington, D.C. calling for "bilateral cooperation" between the two nations ahead of a summit with President Joe Biden. File Pool Photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI | License Photo
May 20 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed a desire to deepen the nation's "bilateral cooperation" with the United States on Thursday, ahead of a scheduled summit with U.S. President Joe Biden.
Moon delivered remarks alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday afternoon as he said he hopes his discussions with U.S. lawmakers will "not only establish peace on the Korean Peninsula" but also combat the COVID-19 pandemic, reviving the economy and responding to climate change."
"Although the coronavirus draws people apart physically, ironically it proves that all of humanity is connected as one," he said. "As we need solidarity and cooperation of all humankind to defeat the virus, I believe the same is true for building a better future. We need to talk and communicate across borders."
Pelosi said the United States was eager to hear from Moon "about issues of concern to both of our countries" and touted the presence of 28,000 U.S. troops in South Korea.
"We look forward to hearing what you have to say about security, in terms of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; about how we can work together on the climate issue and thank you for your extraordinary leadership in that regard; our cooperation to fight the pandemic and again, in so many ways to benefit from Korea's being in the forefront of innovation as we go forward to make the future better for the people of the world, particularly how we work together for our two countries," she said.
Moon also visited Arlington National Cemetery where he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to service members whose remains have not been identified including those killed in the Korean War.
The South Korean president donated a plaque that read, "In Memory of the Unknown Soldiers and their Noble Sacrifices."
On Friday, Moon will attend a ceremony where Biden will present the Medal of Honor to Korean War veteran Col. Ralph Puckett Jr.