South Korean president invited to address US Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. congressional leaders have invited the president of South Korea to address a joint meeting during a visit to Washington later this month.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other leaders announced Thursday they have invited Republic of Korea President Yoon Suk Yeol to address a joint meeting of Congress in honor of the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. The session is set for April 27.

“With this year marking the 70th anniversary of the alliance between our two countries, it is an especially important time to reflect on the achievements of our partnership and to reaffirm our shared commitment to democracy, economic prosperity, and global peace,” the leaders wrote.

They said the relationship between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea “is one of great importance and significance” and said the meeting “would provide an ideal platform for you to share your vision for the future of the U.S.-Korea alliance.”

President Joe Biden is hosting Yoon at an April 26 state dinner, Biden’s second as president.

The invitation to address the Congress comes as the U.S. is strengthening its alliances with Asia and intensifying its focus on China. This week, McCarthy risked China’s anger by hosting a bipartisan meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan in a diplomatic show of U.S. support for the island government that is territory claimed by Beijing.

South Korea recently increased joint security efforts with the United States as concerns grow about China’s intentions in the region. The country also has economic concerns about U.S. measures regarding the tech industry and trade with China.

Congress routinely welcomes heads of state to deliver an address during a joint meeting, a high-profile opportunity to showcase bonds between the U.S. and other nations.

The letter included the congressional minority leaders, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

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