Reaffirming the Alliance: Secretary of State John Kerry’s Visit to Seoul

One sign of the strength and dynamism of the U.S.-ROK Alliance is the many high-level U.S. government visitors who come to Seoul.  In recent months, we have had distinguished guests including Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, and many others.  

It was great to see Secretary Kerry for his visit recently and to be a part of his meetings, including with President Park and Foreign Minister Yun.

Secretary Kerry welcomed by President Park

Secretary Kerry was here to help set the groundwork for the summit meeting to be held between President Obama and President Park this summer.  Secretary Kerry was also able to coordinate with our Republic of Korea allies on a number of key policy efforts.  Our two governments are very much in sync on North Korea policy, the economic relationship, and our efforts to promote peace and prosperity around the world.  He also spoke at length about other, newer areas of cooperation such as environment, energy, space and cyber – including giving a speech at Korea University (below).  Secretary Kerry reaffirmed the strength of our Alliance during a very productive dinner and meeting the next day with Foreign Minister Yun, his joint press availability with Foreign Minister Yun [], and of course great meeting with President Park herself – where they covered a wide range of important topics.    

Secretary Kerry and FM Yun respond to questions at a joint press availability

Secretary Kerry’s innovative and insightful speech at Korea University on cyber related issues was particularly impressive.  He talked about how “the Internet should be open and accessible to everyone” and that, in the United States, we believe in “freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of choice.”  He also mentioned how both the Republic of Korea and the United States have been the victims of serious cyber-attacks.  As a result, the Secretary noted that the “United States is working with partners on every continent to strengthen the capacity of governments to prevent cyber-crime through improved training, the right legal frameworks, information sharing, and public involvement.”  You can read what he said at

Our Korean counterparts are particularly important for our joint cyber security initiatives since they represent the cutting edge of technology.  Together we can all collaborate and thereby be more effective.  I appreciate that the President of Korea University, Yeom Jae-ho, and the Chairman of the Board, Kim Jae-ho, along with leaders on cyber issues from the government and private industry joined us for this meaningful event.  

Secretary Kerry:  ‘An Open and Secure Internet: We Must Have Both’

Another great event was the ‘Meet and Greet’ at Yongsan Army Garrison at which Secretary Kerry met with Embassy families and U.S. troops, and men and women from all different parts of the government, both in and out of uniform.  General Scaparrotti warmly introduced the Secretary.  This was a terrific opportunity for him to chat with members of the Foreign Service and the military.

Secretary Kerry makes a new friend

Secretary Kerry also thoughtfully presented letters of appreciation to some of the Koreans who had assisted me when I was attacked. 

Secretary Kerry and I posed with individuals who helped me after the attack 
(from left: Mr. Shin Sang-kyun, myself, Ms. Yoo Jae-young, Secretary Kerry,
and Mr. Lee Si-yeon)

Of course, living in Seoul, I love to try all kinds of restaurants, and – in particular – I love both American and Korean cuisines.  I took the visit as an opportunity to introduce Secretary Kerry to the deliciousness that is kimchi fries, a specialty of Vatos restaurant in Itaewon. This restaurant, run by Korean-Americans and using funding raised through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, is a great example of the new face of U.S. – Korea ties [].  Secretary Kerry enjoyed meeting the Korean-American owners of Vatos.  Robyn and Sejun also joined us for the tasty tacos. 

Sejun meeting Secretary Kerry

Secretary of State told me personally that he had a very fruitful visit to Korea and I send many thanks to all our Korean friends who helped make the visit a success and to all of you who welcomed him to this beautiful country. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your stories with us Ambassador Lippert. Keep up the good work.


Powered by Blogger.