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Speeches

M. Pence: Address to World Summit 2022, Closing Session

Address to World Summit
February 11-13, 2022

 

Distinguished leaders, Prime Minister, Mr. Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen gathered here and around the world. As the former vice president of the United States, it is my great honor to address this World Summit: Peace on the Korean Peninsula.

I want to thank Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for chairing this wonderful event, bringing together leaders from 157 nations around the world, leaders of government and business, faith and civil society. It’s truly a remarkable, historic gathering.

So much has changed since the last World Summit was held in February 2020. Over the past two years the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted heartbreak and hardship on families and nations all across the world. Every nation on earth has been put to the test. But now, thanks to bold leadership, ground-breaking partnerships and the courage and compassion of individual citizens, mankind’s victory over the coronavirus is closer today than ever before.

And as we undertake the urgent work of healing our nations, restoring our economies, we must remember that our task is not merely to rebuild the world of the past, but to forge a brighter future for all of our citizens, beginning right here on the Korean peninsula.

I want to express my appreciation, especially to The Washington Times, a courageous voice for freedom in America, and frankly, around the world. A voice for faith and family and liberty for all. I also want to thank the Universal Peace Foundation, and most especially you, Dr. Moon, for devoting your life for the cause of peace. We are all in your debt.

On a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Today I also want to commend all of you for coming together in this global event to continue to sow seeds for peace, knowing that in due time we will reap a harvest that will bless people on the Korean peninsula and nations around the world.

During my four years as vice president, at home and abroad I saw firsthand that strong families, education, equal treatment under the law, democracy and a recognition of the dignity and worth of every human life, born and unborn, is the foundation of true national greatness. These are the values that have united the people of Korea and the people of the United States for nearly 70 years, and they are the same values that my father, US Army lieutenant Ed Pence, fought to defend when he came here to this peninsula and won freedom for the people of South Korea.

My father stood shoulder to shoulder with other courageous Americans and courageous South Koreans to secure that freedom. They all worked on the same values that I’ve sought to defend all of my life. In the 70 years since the guns fell silent, two Koreas have lived side by side, one prospering in the warm light of freedom, the other struggling under the weight of dictatorship and oppression. In all those decades, the United States and the Republic of Korea proved how much can be accomplished when nations share a common commitment to democracy and free enterprise, free speech, family values, and most especially, religious liberty.

I know I speak on behalf of millions of Americans when I say how proud we are to stand with the Republic of Korea, Japan and freedom-loving nations across the region in defense of our first freedom— the freedom of religion. We believe we are endowed by our Creator with the right and the freedom to live, work and worship according to the dictates of our conscience. With one voice today we condemn the repression of Christians and Jews and Muslims and other religious minorities that is taking place at this very hour in North Korea and China and elsewhere around the world. We pray for these people, for an end to their persecution. And as world leaders, we resolve to work together to bring justice for all of those who are being persecuted for their faith. We have hope that that justice will come because nothing is impossible with God.


When nations work together openly and in good faith to achieve the common good, we can achieve great strides for peace, which is exactly what we proved during the four years of the Trump-Pence administration. Under our administration the alliance between America and Korea and freedom-loving nations across the Asia-Pacific grew stronger than ever before. Our commitment to our common defense remained unbreakable. We stood firm against our common adversaries, even as we worked in good faith to turn adversaries into friends.

Together we strengthened our historic alliance, improved our trading relationship, and reaffirmed America’s commitment to support the Republic of Korea, Japan and our allies in the region. Lasting peace on the Korean peninsula has eluded resolution for decades. When our administration took office, North Korea had established a formidable nuclear weapons arsenal, with ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korea, Japan, and even the United States.

When I represented our country at the winter Olympics in Pyongchang in 2018, and met with North Korean defectors at the memorial, few people would imagine that the leaders of the United States and North Korea would be sitting down to discuss peace later that same year, but it happened. In the historic summit in Singapore we showed that progress toward peace was possible. The firing of missiles ended, nuclear testing stopped, and a dialogue was opened at a historic level.

We have stood firm. President Trump made clear that the United States would defend South Korea and our allies in the region. We proved that peace follows strength. As we gather today we recognize another historic truth, that weakness arouses evil. The resurgence of missile tests, provocations from Pyongyang, are a testament to this truth, as are the ongoing actions of the People’s Republic of China and Russia. Freedom-loving nations across the Asia Pacific must stand strong and united in our commitment to peace and security in this challenging time. While Beijing is basking in the Olympic limelight, China continues to tie international cooperation to demands that the world look the other way to its record on human rights, trade abuses, Hong Kong, Taiwan and their aggressive military maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Today, with 100,000 Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, Beijing supports Moscow, even as Russia supports China on Taiwan. Russia and China’s deepening alliance should be a cause for concern across the free world. As the Chinese dragon and the Russian bear draw closer, peril looms for their freedom-loving neighbors and the wider world, and now more than ever nations who cherish freedom, must stand strong and call on China and Russia to respect human rights, democratic principles, national sovereignty, and do their part for the final and fully verified de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

While we hope our current American administration will stand strong and build on the progress that we made, in the face of renewed belligerence from North Korea, Russian tanks on the border of Ukraine, Chinese warplanes flying in record numbers in the Taiwan strait, let me assure friend and foe alike that America will always stand for freedom. America will always be freedom’s greatest champion, and we will always stand with the people of the Republic of Korea, Japan and all of our allies for peace and security across the free world.

The dream of a united Korea is possible. We know the rich history of the Korean people, which stretches back into time immemorial. Yours is the story of a proud people who made immeasurable contributions to science, culture, art and commerce. That story is far from over. We also know that no oppressive regime can last forever. Inside every human heart is the unquenchable fire that burns to be free. Inside every human soul is the insatiable desire for freedom. Despite the many challenges that we face in this very day, based on the progress that we made in our season, I am supremely confident that a brighter future is on the horizon, for the United States, the Korean people, for Asia and the world, if we continue to have faith, and if we continue to stand with one another for freedom and security.

Times of crisis in our world have always been times of greatest opportunity, when we find ways to overcome our differences and cooperate together. This is such a time. So to everyone participating in World Summit 2022, thank you. Thank you for your voice, and for your stand and for your prayers. I urge each one of you to keep working, believing, striving for peace. Never give up. The Bible tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap the harvest.”

Your labors on behalf of peace, for all the Korean people and the Asia Pacific and across the world, are not in vain. Remember, when we make peace our cause, our goal, when we make justice our cause, we make his cause on earth our very own.

Thank you, and God bless you.

 

 


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