Proclamation 4942 -- United States-Korea Centennial

May 10, 1982

By the President of the United States

of America

A Proclamation

On May 22, 1882, representatives of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Korea concluded a Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce, and Navigation providing for the opening of diplomatic relations and the establishment of permanent resident missions in each capital. This Treaty marked a new chapter in the history of northeast Asia and was the auspicious beginning of an enduring partnership between the United States and Korea.

The intervening century has witnessed enormous change and progress in our two nations. Our relationship began when both of our nations were largely isolated from the main currents of world life. A century later, Korea and the United States are heavily engaged in all aspects of international endeavor. We have undergone remarkable social and economic transformations as well -- from largely rural agricultural societies 100 years ago to the urban industrial economies of today. And, in the process, we have come to enjoy unprecedented levels of prosperity.

Americans are proud of the role they have played in Korean history, especially during these last 100 years. In 1945, American soldiers were crucial to the restoration of this ancient land's independence. Just five years later, Americans fought side-by-side with Korean soldiers in the struggle against the Communist invasion of 1950. Korea, in turn, made a major contribution to the United States' efforts to defeat Communist aggression in Vietnam.

Throughout this period, Americans and Koreans have enriched each other's cultures through the exchange of teachers, scholars and missionaries, and each other's economies through trade and scientific and technological cooperation. The United States applauds and welcomes the valuable contributions that citizens and residents of Korean ancestry have made and continue to make to our society.

Today Americans share many common values with the people of Korea. We believe that only in an atmosphere of freedom can full human potential be realized. We both have set high standards for education and achievement. We believe that an environment of free enterprise encourages initiative and innovation. And we both believe that hard work and diligence will lead to a better life and a better world for our children.

As we enter this second century of our relationship, we can look with satisfaction on our past accomplishments and with anticipation to the future. We will stand by our friends in Korea. In so doing we reaffirm our dedication to the principles of freedom and democracy as the basis of our continued strength and friendship. It is fitting then, that we now reflect upon our relations with this great nation and its people.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of May 16 through May 22 as a week of national observance of the centennial of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and Korea and of the ties of friendship that bind our two peoples.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 10th day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and sixth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:16 p.m., May 11, 1982]

Note: The text of the proclamation was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 11.