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Speeches

M. Pence: Address to World Summit 2022, Plenary Session 1

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Mr. Prime Minister, Excellencies, distinguished leaders, ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to address the opening ceremony of World Summit 2022, as leaders around the world give voice to our hope around this planet that we will make progress toward peace on the Korean peninsula.

I want to express my deepest appreciation to the co-chairs of this event, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, but especially, and for his words today, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Samdech Hun Sen. Thank you for your presence here today. Thank you for your leadership of this summit. It is good to see you again.

And finally, my thanks to The Washington Times and the Universal Peace Federation for bringing together this important gathering. And most especially to Dr. Moon for hosting this event and for continuing faithfully the significant work begun by her late husband, Dr. Moon, for promoting the cause of peace, for living out your life’s calling with compassion and grace. You have the thanks of us all.

Today leaders from 157 nations around the world are gathered to continue working, striving and praying for that vision, for a more peaceful and prosperous world. We gather because freedom-loving people here in Korea, Japan, the United States and around the world share the same values and cherish faith, family, democracy and the rule of law. The Bible tells us that you reap what you sow. Today my prayer is that we might sow the seeds of peace, believing with all of our hearts that we will someday reap a harvest of peace on the Korean peninsula for the world.

So much has changed since the last World Summit was held in February 2020. In the past two years the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted heartbreak and hardship across the globe. Every nation on earth has been put to the test. Now with bold leadership, ground-breaking partnership and courageous resolve and compassion of people around the globe, I’m proud to report that mankind’s victory over the coronavirus is closer today than ever before.

I also want to give credit, having led the White House coronavirus taskforce through the generosity of the American people, I couldn’t be more proud of my countrymen and the way they stepped forward with compassion and generosity, developing not only testing but supplies and resources, and developing through Operation Warp Speed three safe and effective vaccines that have now been administered to people around the world, [a total of]10 billion doses. Truly a medical miracle.

What we learned through this challenging time in my country and around the planet, is that there is nothing impossible when nations work together for the common good. As we undertake the urgent work of healing our nations and restoring our economies, we gather today to remember that our task is not simply to rebuild the world of the past but to build a brighter future, beginning right here on this storied peninsula.

The Korean people hold a special place in my heart, for the same reason that Speaker Newt Gingrich just said, because my father, Lt. Ed Pence, US Army, fought here alongside courageous, freedom-loving Koreans and won freedom for the Republic of Korea. It is a source of great pride to me and my family and the American people. It is good to be back in Korea.

It is remarkable to think in the 70 years since the guns of the Korean war fell silent, two Koreas have lived side by side, one prospering in the warm light of freedom and the other struggling under the weight of dictatorship and oppression. The same people, different systems and different histories.

As Vice President of the United States, I was proud to visit this country. I couldn’t be more proud that under the Trump-Pence administration, the United States and the Republic of Korea proved that we could accomplish so much for democracy, our values, human dignity, religious liberty and equality under the law. In four short years we strengthened the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea as never before. We improved our trading relationship, we reaffirmed America’s commitment to support the Republic of Korea and all our allies in the region with an unbreakable commitment to our common defense.

Lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula has eluded resolution for decades. And frankly, when our administration took office, North Korea had established a formidable nuclear weapons arsenal, with ballistic missile capability reaching not only South Korea and Japan, but even the United States. But under our administration we proved to the astonishment of the world that peace is possible when America is strong.

Few people imagined that they would see the leaders of the United States and North Korea sitting down to discuss peace, but that’s exactly what happened at that historic summit in Singapore in 2018. In the summit and meetings that followed, President Donald Trump showed it was possible. The nuclear testing stopped, the missile testing stopped, and we began a productive dialogue for peace between our nations.

We proved that peace follows strength, that weakness arouses evil, and resurgence of missile tests and provocations from Pyongyang this week, promising to shake the world, are a testament to this truth.

Now I no longer speak on behalf of the United States government, but let me assure you in the face of such renewed belligerence from North Korea, Russian tanks on the border of Ukraine, and China’s warplanes flying into Taiwan’s defense zone in record numbers, you can be sure of this: the American people will always stand for freedom and we will always stand with the people of the Republic of Korea.

As we proved here 70 years ago and every year since, America will always be freedom’s greatest champion, liberty’s greatest protector. The armed forces of the United States will remain the greatest force for good the world has ever known.

With that said, the dream of peace on the Korean peninsula is possible. That’s what brings us here today. As our administration proved with the historic Abraham accords of one year ago, normalizing relations between several Arab countries and the state of Israel, much can be accomplished through a combination of strength and engagement.

So we have much to discuss at this World Summit 2022. Despite the many challenges that we face, based on the progress that I saw under the Trump-Pence administration I remain supremely confident that a brighter future is on the horizon for the United States, for the people of the Korean Peninsula, the Asia Pacific and the world.

The dream of a united Korea is possible. We know the rich history of the Korean people, which stretches back to time immemorial. It is a story of a proud and accomplished people that have made immeasurable contributions to science, culture, art and commerce. We know their story together is far from over.


We also know that no oppressive regime can last forever, for inside every human heart is an unquenchable fire that burns to be free. Inside every human soul is an insatiable desire for freedom.

So thank you for the honor of being with you at this World Summit 2022. Let us reason together in the time that we have. Let us work, and as we began this gathering, let us pray, remembering the words of Isaiah, that surely the nations are like a drop in the bucket, before Him all nations are as nothing, and they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. I believe with all of my heart that if we will have faith, if we will wait upon the author of life and liberty, the day will come when lasting peace comes to the Korean peninsula. A new and glorious day will dawn, a bright future will begin, ushering in peace and freedom for all the people of Korea.

Thank you and God bless you, and let’s get to work.

 

 


To go to the World Summit 2022 Schedule page, click here.