SEOUL, Republic of Korea –
The commanding general of the top U.S. Army formation in South Korea
said the Republic of Korea-U.S. Alliance is the strongest military
alliance in the world.
At the Korean-American Friendship Dinner here at the Lotte Hotel Dec.
9, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux thanked
members of the Korean-American Club for supporting American troops in
Korea and helping to strengthen the alliance.
The dinner was also attended by many other senior American and South
Korean officials and military leaders, including South Korean Foreign
Affairs Minister Yoon Byeong-se, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim, 7th Air Force
Commander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas, Eighth Army Deputy Commanding
General for Operations Maj. Gen. Walter M. Golden and Eighth Army
Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens.
During the friendship dinner, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim became the first
recipient of the Korean-American Club Award for his efforts to
strengthen the alliance.
The 10th annual friendship dinner also featured performances by the
Korean fusion group Aux and renowned singer Professor Kim Dong-kyu.
The Korean-American Club, also known as the Hanmi Club, works to
strengthen the alliance that has defended freedom on the Korean
Peninsula and maintained stability in the Asia Pacific region for more
than 60 years.
During his speech, Champoux thanked Korean-American Club Chairman David Pong for his enduring support of the alliance.
Often called the Walter Cronkite of Korea, David Pong started his
journalism career in 1959, served as the Hankook Ilbo and Korea Times
special correspondent in Washington and went on to serve as South
Korea's first news anchor. Pong later served as a lawmaker in the
"Korea and the United States have long been the staunch allies in time
of war and in time of peace," said Pong. "It is my firm and strong
conviction that the relations between our two great countries should be
even more preserved, improved and strengthened."
Champoux recognized the many former and current South Korean special
correspondents from Washington who are members of the Korean-American
Club and the reporters who previously served with Eighth Army as Korean
Augmentation to the U.S. Army troops. The Eighth Army commanding general
also highlighted the important role the press plays in free societies.
"Like our nation, the Republic of Korea values the transformative power
of the press," said Champoux, a native from Pittsfield, Mass. "Strong
democracies have strong and independent presses and our alliance is
formed by two strong democracies."
"A free press keeps people informed and I thank you for telling the
story of the strongest alliance in the world," said Champoux.
The South Korean Foreign Minister Yoon Byeong-se said the ROK-U.S.
Alliance has confronted and overcome many challenges during its 60-year
"Our wisdom and capabilities can turn any challenges into
opportunities," said Yoon. "This is why I call our alliance an
'all-weather alliance' that is never daunted by troubled waters or
Yoon said that much as the ROK-U.S. Alliance had provided the security
that enabled South Korea's meteoric rise from the ashes of the war to
center of the world stage in 60 years, the alliance would help the
"Miracle of the Han" became the "Miracle in the Pacific."
Yoon expressed his gratitude to all American military personnel serving in South Korea today.
"I would like to thank all those dedicated men and women from U.S.
Forces Korea standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the brave men and women
of ROK forces," said Yoon. "They were and are defending the frontier of
liberty and prosperity in this part of the world."