Past Events


“No stronger ally and friend than the Republic of Korea”
says U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly

Asan Special Lecture on
The U.S.-Korea Alliance and the Three Pillars of Commitment

“From the U.S. point of view, there is no stronger ally and friend than the Republic of Korea. [We only] need to look at history, actual relationships and sacrifices made, to determine where the stronger friendships and alliances are beyond economic ties,” said Mr. Mike Kelly, the Republican chairman of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition on Tuesday, November 24, in response to a question comparing U.S. relations with Korea and Japan at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. In a Special Lecture titled, “The U.S.-Korea Alliance and the Three Pillars of Commitment,” Kelly identified these critical pillars as Commitments to Excellence, Confidence, and Care.

The first Commitment to Excellence entails “enjoying the challenge of meeting and exceeding the standards of high expectations each and every time.” Kelly highlights that the U.S.-Korea alliance has to continually exceed expectations to grow and consolidate the relationship into a dynamic partnership, contributing to global peace and stability hand-in-hand. The KORUS FTA and Korea’s future participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be fundamental in cementing U.S.-Korea trade ties. Kelly personally pledged his support for creating a Temporary Professional Visa quota for 15,000 Korean Nationals to improve relations.

Turning to the second Commitment to Confidence, Kelly defines this principle as “standing strong, resolute, and reliable in the face of adversity or any challenge.” Korea is the linchpin of America’s foreign policy in Northeast Asia, and the presence of 28,500 American military men defending the Republic of Korea will continue to be a stabilizing factor as long as conflict in the region persists. The U.S. will repeatedly reassure that it will stand by South Korea firmly and confidently to counter any provocations or acts of aggression, particularly those from North Korea. As Kelly emphasizes, “The strength of our bond is rooted in our shared devotion to democratic principles… No matter what challenges arise, the United States will always meet its moral duty to support the Republic [of Korea]… Our alliance is a ‘Blood Alliance.’”

The third Commitment to Care emphasizes the importance of fostering trust and mutual cooperation. Kelly reiterates support for President Park’s efforts aimed at “Trustpolitik” to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula. “When it comes to military support,” Kelly elaborates, “[we] will not find a member in the US House of Representatives at any time who will say that our commitment to the Republic [of Korea] is any less now than in the late 40s or 50s… At every skirmish the U.S. has been in, Korea has always been there. Korea needs to know that the United States feels the same way.”

The lecture was followed by a Q&A session touching upon the ROK/US Combined Forces Command, the generation gap in South Korea, China’s actions providing North Korea with aid, and differences in U.S. ties with Japan and Korea. Dr. Hahm Chaibong, President of The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, gave welcoming remarks.

Date/Time: Tuesday, November 24, 2015 / 11:30am – 1:30pm
Place: Auditorium (1F), The Asan Institute for Policy Studies

U.S. Congressman Mike Kelly’s prepared remarks is available for download above.

Mike Kelly is currently serving as the Republican chairman of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition, the Congressional Korea Caucus, the House Automotive Caucus, the House Retirement Security Caucus, and the House Small Brewers Caucus. He also sits on the steering committee of the Republican Study Committee.