Representing the U.S. government, Secretary of State John Kerry attended the event spending the entire evening side-by-side the South Korean leader on the second day of her four-day visit to the U.S.
The two sat at the head table and exchanged congratulatory remarks on the friendship of the two countries over the past 60 years, pledging stronger ties in the future.
Donned in a lavish burgundy-dark silver hanbok, Park told the audience that the Korea-U.S. alliance will continue to remain strong.
“Like a Korean proverb saying that a tree with a deep roots won’t be shaken by the wind … the friendship and the history between Korea and U.S. will be never be swayed in the wind,” Park said.
Kerry also stressed that the Korea-U.S. alliance goes beyond security and material interests with the bilateral ties having a much deeper foundation.
“Our alliance cannot be explained simply by the alignment of security and material interests -- although, obviously that helps -- and is based much more on the discovery long ago and repeated over and over again when Americans and Koreans get together that good things happen.”
“In times that are good and in those that are not so good, our countries have always had each other’s back,” he said.
Other participants included former and incumbent top officials for U.S. foreign affairs and security policy, including former secretaries of defense Chuck Hagel and William Cohen and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Top advisors and diplomats in the Obama administration also attended the event, including John Holdren, director of science and technology policy at White House; Edith Ramirez, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; Avril Haines, deputy national security advisor; Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces; and Mark Lippert, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. Prominent guests from the U.S. political and academic circles were congressman Charles Rangel and Jane Harman, president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
The evening was also dedicated to former U.S. servicemen who fought during the 1950-53 Korean War and civil activists who provided extraordinary care for people in the war-stricken country, the presidential office said.
Calling them “true heroes,” Park thanked the veterans and their families including retired Rear Adm. J. Robert Lunney who served as a crew member of the S.S. Meredith Victory that brought 14,000 North Korean refugees from Heungnam to South Korea during the war.
By Cho Chung-un, Korea Herald correspondent (firstname.lastname@example.org)