From morning to evening, and through speeches, engaging discussions, captivating photos and inspiring videos, Herald Corp. commemorated a 70-year journey of shared growth between South Korea and the US in Seoul on Wednesday.
The day’s events, hosted by the media company and held at the Shilla Seoul, also marked the foundation of The Korea Herald in 1953 and its sister paper Herald Business in 1973.
At the ROK-US “Alliance Plus” forum, which was attended by approximately 1,000 guests, including leading politicians and business executives, distinguished personalities including former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore shared their views on the role of the South Korea-US alliance. The ROK refers to South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.
Alliance Plus was preceded by the H.eco Forum, an annual event designed to raise awareness on the climate crisis also hosted by Herald Corp., earlier in the morning. It was followed by a grand gala to celebrate The Korea Herald's 70th anniversary, attended by diplomats from 48 countries.
“We stand before diverse challenges, including a shifting economic order, reorganizing supply chains, climate crisis and threats to democracy,” Herald Corp. Chairman Jung Won-ju said in his opening remarks of Alliance Plus.
“Let us engage in collective brainstorming on strategies centered around the ROK-US alliance and shared democratic values.”
Speakers at the forum included former US Vice President Al Gore; Willard Burleson III, commanding general of the 8th US Army and chief of staff of the Combined Forces Command; Jun Kwang-woo, chairman of the Institute for Global Economics and founding chairman of the Financial Services Commission; and Yoichi Masuzoe, Japan’s former minister of health, labor and welfare and the former governor of Tokyo.
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo also delivered special remarks as an invited speaker.
"The Korea-US alliance has developed into the most successful alliance in history as it constantly expanded from security to economy, industry, science and technology and culture over the past seven decades," Han said.
"With the geopolitical crisis, security and economic challenges triggered by the war in Ukraine, forging solidarity with nations that share core values such as free democracy is a highly important task for the future of Korea."
Kim Gi-hyeon, chairman of People Power Party; Philip S. Goldberg, US ambassador to South Korea; Oh Se-hoon, mayor of Seoul; Sohn Kyung-shik, chairman of the Korea Enterprises Federation; and James Kim, chairman of American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, also attended the forum to deliver their congratulatory remarks.
Al Gore, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, urged Korea and the US to increase their climate ambitions in his keynote speech on “The Role of ROK-US Solidarity in Addressing Our Planet’s Greatest Challenges.”
Highlighting the global climate crisis as the world's most significant challenge -- with the exception of the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the risk of nuclear war -- the former US second-in-command said Korea should profitably replace existing coal and gas power generation with solar and wind power.
Lt. Gen. Willard Burleson, commander of the 8th US Army, highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong South Korea-US security alliance to deter aggression from North Korea, particularly in light of the country's ongoing missile development and nuclear buildup.
“Our alliance was born out of a geopolitical necessity, and the bonds were formed based on sacrifice in the Korean War,” Burleson said.
“Our combined forces must continue to build upon the accomplishments of those that fought during the Korean War.”
To achieve this goal, Burleson suggested that conducting realistic training and exercises should be the top priority for both forces, as doing so will reinforce deterrence and ultimately contribute to peace on the Korean Peninsula while establishing a secure foundation in Northeast Asia.
Jun Kwang-woo, chairman of the Institute for Global Economics and founding chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said that Korea, the US and Japan must bolster economic cooperation to address challenges and supply chain disruptions triggered by post-pandemic paradigm shifts and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe underscored stronger Korea-Japan ties to fight off global challenges alongside the US, the biggest ally of both Seoul and Tokyo.
Seoul, Tokyo and Washington will help build stability in the Asia-Pacific region, as the three liberal democratic countries solidify their united front against authoritarian regimes like North Korea, Russia and China, Masuzoe said.
Also at the forum, photographs of Koreans and US troops in South Korea from 1953-54 were exhibited, offering a glimpse into the early days of the Korea-US alliance. The photos were taken by a late US army photographer and were provided exclusively to The Korea Herald by his family.
Diplomats from 48 countries, dignitaries from various fields and current and former Herald Corp. employees gathered for a grand gala in the evening, honoring the seven-decade journey of Korea’s No. 1 English-language newspaper since its foundation on Aug. 15, 1953.
A video encompassing the newspaper's past and present was shown during the event, followed by congratulatory remarks by Foreign Minister Park Jin and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.