Effect of Obama’s Visit to Seoul, Korea

U.S. Ambassador to Seoul Sung Kim recalled Tuesday the most memorable moments of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to the South Korean capital, saying the highlight was an emphatic speech at a local university.

Obama was in Seoul for three days last week to attend a global nuclear summit joined by 56 other heads of state and international organizations, including the United Nations.

Writing in an entry titled “President Obama and Me” on the U.S. Embassy’s blog, Kim devoted the most space to describe a special lecture Obama delivered at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies on March 26.

“The President’s message to North Korea — to the leadership and the people — was incredibly compelling,” he wrote.

“The best moment of the event was when one of the North Korean defectors, who escaped North Korea when she was 13 and recently traveled in the U.S. under the WEST program, had a chance to shake the President’s hand and thank him for the chance to see the U.S.

It was truly wonderful.”

During the speech, Obama urged the North Korean leadership to “have the courage to pursue peace” and a better life for its people.

He also stressed that there will be “no rewards for provocations” in apparent reference to the communist regime’s plan next week to launch a long-range rocket seen as a cover for a banned missile test.

The North Korean defector, meanwhile, was “so excited she almost collapsed,” Kim wrote.

The envoy also described his more personal encounters with Obama during the visit, starting with a helicopter ride from an air base outside of Seoul to the city.

“Aboard Marine One, the president’s helicopter, from Osan to Seoul, I had the opportunity to brief him about the situation in the ROK and on the whole Korean Peninsula,” he wrote, referring to South Korea by the acronym of its official name, the Republic of Korea.

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