SAN JOSE — Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and South Korean President Park Geun-hye met in Seoul on Dec. 19 to discuss enhancing the economic, cultural, and security partnership between Silicon Valley and Korea.

The discussion was part of a five-day trip by the congressman to meet with business and government leaders in Korea and enhance the relationship between the two regions.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Rep. Mike Honda
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Rep. Mike Honda

“I love what President Park has been doing for the people of Korea,” Honda said. “It was an honor to meet with her and discuss how Silicon Valley and Korea can benefit each other through trade and diplomacy. I appreciate that she took the time to discuss these vital issues with me.”

During the 30 minute, one-on-one meeting, the two also discussed the path for reunification of the Korean Peninsula and Korea’s pan-Asian relations, including those with Japan. Park and Honda agreed that the first step to reunification is increased family visits between North and South Korea.

They also agreed that Japan’s relationship with Korea, and the rest of Asia, cannot completely move forward until Japan takes full responsibility for its army’s actions in World War II, and apologizes for the sexual enslavement of over 200,000 women, known as “comfort women.”

On this trip, the congressman delivered a keynote policy address at the Asan Institute. He also met with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se; the Korean International Trade Association (KITA); the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation; the American Chamber of Commerce-Korea; SK, a large Korean telecom provider with a significant Silicon Valley presence; U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert; the Northeast Asian History Foundation; and the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.

Also on the itinerary were a visit to the War Memorial of Korea, a meeting with U.S. troops stationed at Yongsan Garrison, and a visit to a House of Sharing, where surviving comfort women live.

“I have learned so much about Korea, its industry, its government, and its people on this trip,” Honda said. “I am glad that I was able to tell them about the great opportunities for investment in Silicon Valley, and find ways to remove barriers that limit trade between us.”

“The U.S.-Korean friendship is one of our country’s strongest and most important,” he added. “I am honored that their government invited me.”

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