President Biden to Host South Korean President This Week
WASHINGTON — A state dinner, joint press conference in the Rose Garden and a visit to the Korean War Veterans Memorial will all be part of the activities as President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden welcome their South Korean counterparts to Washington this week. The visit to the United States by South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and First Lady Kim Keon Hee is intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korea alliance.
The South Korean president and his wife are scheduled to arrive in Washington on Tuesday, and will visit the Korean War Veterans Memorial with the Bidens a short time later.
On Wednesday, Biden is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with the South Korean president followed by a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden — the first official news conference for the U.S. president in a month.
On Wednesday evening the Bidens will host a state dinner, with chef Edward Lee, a Korean-American James Beard Award winner with restaurants in Washington, D.C., and Louisville, Kentucky, to serve as a guest chef alongside White House executive chef Cris Comerford, her staff and executive pastry chef Susie Morrison.
According to the White House, Lee was asked to participate based on his “experience with the intersection of American cuisine with Korean influence.”
During the dinner, the South Korean president, his wife and other distinguished guests will be serenaded by three Broadway stars: Norm Lewis, who appeared in the just-closed “Phantom of the Opera,” Jessica Vosk, who played Elphaba in “Wicked,” and Tony Award winner Lea Salonga, who was also the singing voice for Disney’s princesses “Jasmine” and “Mulan.”
On Thursday, Yoon will travel to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue to address a joint session of Congress.
The state visit comes at a time when the U.S. is seeking to bolster its alliances with Asia and counter the apparent growing influence of China.
South Korea is also known to have economic concerns about U.S. measures regarding the tech industry and trade with China.
These reached a flash point last fall when Yoon’s government learned that electric vehicles manufactured by Hyundai in South Korea would be excluded from generous consumer tax credits extended to others under the Inflation Reduction Act.
The act included tax credits of up to $7,500 for EVs assembled in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
But Hyundai’s new Georgia plant is not scheduled to begin production until 2025, making it ineligible for the subsidies until then.
There have also been disagreements between Seoul and Washington over U.S. restrictions on the transfer of cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities to semiconductor facilities in China.
But officials here were focusing on areas of widespread agreement as this week’s state visit approached.
In their letter to Yoon, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “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.”
The joint session, they said, would “reaffirm our shared commitment to democracy, economic prosperity, and global peace.”