This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

President Obama and President Lee of South Korea Hold a Joint Press Conference

President Obama and President Lee of South Korea take questions from the press in the East Room of the White House.
President Lee of South Korea and President Obama Hold Joint Press Conference

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea hold a press conference in the East Room during President Lee’s State Visit to the White House, Oct. 13, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As a part of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's official state visit, President Obama and President Lee held a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House today taking questions from both the U.S. and Korean press on a number of issues including the recently passed landmark trade agreement between the two countries.

We agreed to move ahead quickly with the landmark trade agreement that Congress passed last night -- and which I’ll sign in the coming days.  It’s a win for both our countries.  For our farmers and ranchers here in the United States, it will increase exports of agricultural products.  From aerospace to electronics, it will increase American manufacturing exports, including those produced by our small businesses.  It will open Korea’s lucrative services market, and I’m very pleased that it will help level the playing field for American automakers. 

As a former executive, President Lee will understand when I say that just as Americans buy Hyundais and Kias, I hope that South Koreans will buy more Fords, Chryslers and Chevys.  And tomorrow, President Lee and I will be visiting with autoworkers in Michigan -- some of the many Americans who are going to benefit from this agreement.

In short, this agreement will boost American exports by up to $11 billion and support some 70,000 American jobs.  It has groundbreaking protections for labor rights, the environment and intellectual property -- so that trade is free and fair.  It will promote green jobs and clean energy, another area where we’re deepening our cooperation.  And it keeps us on track to achieve my goals of doubling American exports. 

Echoing President Obama's remarks, President Lee reaffirmed the strong and stable relationship between the U.S. and Korea.

I am pleased to have had the chance to reaffirm once again the strong partnership and friendship between our two countries. I met with President Obama six times over the last three years.  Our meetings were always constructive, allowing us to reaffirm the strength of our alliance, an alliance that is firmly based upon shared values and mutual trust.  This alliance guarantees peace, stability and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, the Asia Pacific region and beyond.  We will continue to strengthen what is already a powerful and far-reaching alliance.

You can jump to see President Obama and President Lee's answers to specific questions posed by the reporters by clicking on the links below.