Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at a State Dinner Hosted by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in Seoul, South Korea

November 07, 2017

President Moon. Tomorrow marks the 1-year anniversary of President Trump's election victory. In Korea, we have a custom of holding a special celebration on one's first birthday. So after pondering about how to best celebrate the first anniversary of President Trump's victory, I decided to invite the President to Korea as a state guest and hold a banquet. [Laughter] Ladies and gentlemen, another big round of applause to congratulate President Trump.

I would like to extend my heartfelt welcome to President and Mrs. Trump, both of whom I highly respect, on their first visit to Korea. This is the first state visit by an American President in 25 years and the first state visit for me and my administration. I am very pleased to get this opportunity to repay so quickly the hospitality I received in Washington, DC, last June. Over the months, I have maintained close contact with President Trump. But now, after spending a day with the President and the First Lady within Cheong Wa Dae, I feel a sense of intimacy, as if we were old friends.

Distinguished guests, last September, in his keynote speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Trump recollected President Truman's great initiatives for rebuilding the free world in the aftermath of World War II. Thanks to President Truman's resolute decision, the U.S.-led U.N. forces participated in the war that broke out on the Korean Peninsula. The R.O.K.-U.S. alliance was born out of the same red blood of patriots split—spilt by Korean and American soldiers on the battlefield.

Last June, I paid my respects at the Chosin Reservoir Battle memorial in Quantico. I convey my gratitude to the Korean war veterans for their honorable sacrifices and reflect upon the noble values of the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance that has defended freedom and peace.

Even at this very moment, the peace of my country, which was won with blood, is being threatened once again. But the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance gives us the strength to stop this threat. Camp Humphreys, where President Trump visited today, is the largest and most advanced U.S. military installation outside of the United States, and it is a symbol of the enduring strength of the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance.

Ladies and gentlemen, war must not break out again on the Korean Peninsula. And in this respect, the United States has provided enormous support. The close coordination between Korea and the United States and the overwhelming superiority of power that stems from the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance will eventually make North Korea cease its reckless provocations and make North Korea come out to dialogue for denuclearization. The R.O.K.-U.S. alliance of tomorrow will grow into a trustworthy pillar that guarantees the lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and also builds peace and prosperity in all of Northeast Asia.

Ladies and gentlemen, President Trump's election victory 1 year ago is already making America great again. Korea faces the task of making this world a better place through cooperation with a great America. Korea has worked with the United States for peace and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are also working hand in hand with the United States to realize the common values of humanity, such as human rights and the eradication of poverty. I believe that making such joint efforts will make the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance an even greater alliance as President Trump and I have agreed to do last June and, at the same time, make America even greater.

Thank you.

Now I would like to propose a toast. Please fill your glasses, and may I ask you to raise your glasses. If you are ready: I give you my word that I will always stand by you on our journey to make the R.O.K.-U.S. alliance an even greater alliance. I congratulate President Trump on the 1-year anniversary of his election victory. And I would like to propose a toast to the good health of President and Mrs. Trump.

[At this point, President Moon offered a toast.]

Moderator. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome U.S. President Donald Trump. He will also propose a toast.

President Trump. Well, thank you very much. And this is an exciting time, and we're going to have an exciting day tomorrow, for many reasons that people will find out, in addition to the fact, I look forward to making a—hopefully—very comprehensive speech before you and the leaders of Korea. And that will be really something that I'm representing the American people. The relationship that we have is a fantastic one.

And I have to say, President Moon and First Lady Kim, thank you very much. I greatly appreciate your hosting Melania and myself on our first trip to the very beautiful Republic of Korea. We were honored to welcome you to the White House this past summer, and now it's a tremendous honor to visit your magnificent home—and magnificent it is—to see this beautiful land, and to meet the remarkable people of South Korea.

The partnership between our two nations and our two people is deep and enduring. We have been proud to stand by your side for many decades as an unwavering friend and a loyal ally. And you have never had a time where this ally has been more loyal or stood by your side more than right now.

Here in South Korea, the people built a free, sovereign, and democratic republic. Through their resilience and sacrifice and determination, they became the chief architects of the future. Today, the course of this great nation is charted solely by the free people of South Korea. Mr. President, your remarkable success truly demonstrates what is possible when people are free to follow their dreams, pursue their passions, and hope for a better future for their children. Tonight we celebrate South Korea's success and reaffirm our close and abiding bonds of friendship.

Together, our nations remind the world of the boundless potential of societies that choose freedom over tyranny, and who set the free. And we will free, and we will sacrifice, and we will hope, and we will make things beautiful, especially the aspiration of your people. As true partners, we have remained faithful friends through periods of challenge and opportunity. And that's what we have now, is great opportunity. We will continue to support each other in the years ahead.

In that spirit, I would like to offer a toast to President Moon and First Lady Kim and to the people of South Korea: May freedom and peace flourish on this peninsula. In our time, and for generations to come, this will be a special evening and a special time. May our bonds of friendship continue to deepen, and may the cherished hopes of our people and the people across the region soon be realized. Mr. President, may your dreams come true. It's an honor to be with you. Thank you very much.

[President Trump offered a toast.]

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 8:30 p.m. at the Blue House. In his remarks, he referred to Kim Jung-sook, wife of President Moon. President Moon and the moderator spoke in Korean, and their remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at a State Dinner Hosted by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in Seoul, South Korea Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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