I have joined President Park on this occasion not only because I wish to share his pleasure at this meeting, but because this occasion tells us so much of our past and our future.
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Background: I have joined President Park on this occasion not only because I wish to share his pleasure at this meeting, but because this occasion tells us so much of our past and our future.
When I say us, I mean all the peoples of the Pacific -- who are determined to live as independent nations and free human beings.
You Americans here tonight of Korean descent know that this state has demonstrated to the rest of the Union -- and to the world -- the America's concern for human dignity reaches out across the Pacific as well as the Atlantic.
Our ties across the Pacific go back a long way -- at least a century and a quarter, to the time when we became involved in China and then a little later in Japan. But it is only in the past 27 years that we have learned that the destiny of the United States is -- once and for all -- bound up with the fate of the peoples of Asia and the Pacific.
Until the end of the Second World War, we gave little thought to the history and problems of Koreans.
Then, suddenly, we found ourselves caught up -- as we have with many other peoples -- in Korea's emergence from Colonialism to independence.
Through no fault of their own, the people of Korea have had to bear more suffering and challenge than any other nation emerging from Colonialism -- with the possible exception of the people of Vietnam.
Together we have seen through a terrible war and a period of uncertainty and confusion. Together we have had the privilege of sharing in the adventure of a new nation moving forward in a miracle of progress.
These ties -- these memories -- are important. They are as much a part of our history as they are of Korea's.
But, equally important, is the fact that this new independence and free South Korea is helping to build a new structure of cooperation in Asia.
As we face now in Vietnam -- hopefully -- a movement from war to peace, I wish to tell you, my fellow citizens -- and you, my friend. President Park -- what I deeply believe.
I deeply believe that this nation will continue to play its part in helping protect and develop the new Asia.
I deeply believe that my successor -- whoever he may be -- will act in ways that will reflect America's abiding interest in Asia's freedom and security.
The commitments of America in Europe and Asia --all made by Congresses and Presidents before my administration -- are colorblind. They run with the security of the nation and our basic human values. They will remain firm in the years ahead.