WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, for a bipartisan congressional delegation (CODEL) to South Korea, where they discussed shared interests and future areas of cooperation with a broad range of high-level officials. While in the region, the senators also visited Taipei to announce the donation of 750,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to Taiwan as part of President Biden’s plan to provide vaccines to our global partners in need. Senator Coons also met with senior Taiwan government officials including the President, Foreign Minister, and Minister of National Defense. Photos from the CODEL can be found here.

“I was pleased to join Senators Duckworth and Sullivan in Seoul to reaffirm our bipartisan, long-standing, and enduring commitment to the Republic of Korea. The U.S.-ROK alliance remains a linchpin for security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” said Senator Coons. “I was grateful for the opportunity to engage in a series of meetings with a broad range of ROK and U.S. Embassy officials, during which we discussed our deep bilateral ties and Korea’s important and growing role in the region and global affairs. We welcomed the recent announcements of Korean investment in the United States, focused on critical technologies that will drive the future, and discussed further strengthening our partnership in research, development, and innovation. The Koreans expressed appreciation for the Biden administration’s delivery of over one million vaccine doses, and we talked about ways in which Korea and the United States can work together to manufacture more vaccines for the rest of East Asia. The alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea remains strong because of our shared values, and I look forward to working with the Biden administration and my colleagues in the Senate to partner with the ROK to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific. I was also pleased to join with my colleagues to visit Taipei and announce the provision of 750,000 vaccines to Taiwan. It remains important that we support our friends, partners, and allies in the region and throughout the world during this critical time.”

“Our visit to South Korea provided me the opportunity to engage in substantive conversations about the bilateral relations between our nations and participate in discussions about how we can continue our partnership—both militarily and economically—into the future,” said Senator Duckworth. “Following up on President Biden and President Moon’s highly successful summit in May, this CODEL cemented the strong alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, the linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Pacific. I was proud to lead this delegation and was honored to help announce that Taiwan will be receiving 750,000 doses of the vaccine as part of the first tranche of donations from the United States. I look forward to working together with our partners in the region on issues of shared importance.”

“This bipartisan congressional delegation visit to the Republic of Korea, the first of its kind since the onset of the pandemic, underscores the fact that the alliance between our two nations is the linchpin of peace, security, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Senator Sullivan. “The U.S.-Korean alliance dates back to the Korean War when our soldiers fought side by side to defeat North Korean communist aggression. I respect so much how, even to this day, the Republic of Korea’s elected leaders and citizens continue to express their appreciation for the sacrifice of tens of thousands of American servicemen who have helped make the country free and prosperous. I want to thank my co-lead on this trip, Senator Duckworth, and Senator Coons for joining me in sending a resounding, bipartisan message of mutual support between our two countries and to America’s friends and adversaries in the Indo-Pacific and throughout the world.”

In South Korea, Duckworth, Coons and Sullivan:

  • Met with high-level officials, including the Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum, Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, Minister of National Defense Suh Wook and Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Moon Sung-wook to discuss areas of shared interest and mutual cooperation;
  • Were briefed by General Robert B. Abrams, Commander of U.S. Forces Korea;
  • Spoke with U.S. Charge d’Affaires Rob Rapson and U.S. Embassy personnel in Seoul;
  • Held a substantive meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly Park Byung-Seug about a variety of topics, including advocating for the ratification of the cost-sharing agreement, and met with two other members of the National Assembly: Member of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea Dr. Jin Park and National Assembly of the Republic of Korea National Defense Committee Chairman Min Hong-cheol;
  • Met with Green Climate Fund Executive Director Yannick Gelmarec;
  • Discussed ways to partner on manufacturing and respecting intellectual property with officials from Samsung;
  • Celebrated South Korean business leaders’ recent announcement to bring billions of dollars in investment to the U.S. and discussed future areas of collaboration and partnership with officials from SK Holdings Co Ltd.

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