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Governor Hogan Delivers Address to JeJu Forum For Peace and Prosperity in South Korea

Earlier today, Governor Hogan delivered a keynote address at the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity in South Korea. This international forum aims to bring together world leaders to discuss how to advance the cause of peace and prosperity. Previous speakers to this global conference include President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

Following are excerpts from the address:

On the Future of Freedom and Democracy- “Today, we are once again at such a pivotal moment in world history. Russia has invaded a peaceful neighbor in Ukraine. North Korea and Iran are emerging nuclear powers and reckless aggressors. China threatens Taiwan and seeks to dominate Asia and the world. Many are concerned about whether the free world still has the will to lead.

To those who again doubt the free world, I would say do not bet against freedom and democracy. People all across the world still yearn to live in freedom. President Zelensky and the brave people of Ukraine have reminded the world of the power of the human heart that yearns to be free. Australia’s stand for economic sovereignty shows us that power cannot be sustained on coercion alone. The historic success of America’s development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines affirms that innovation and prosperity cannot be dictated by any centralized state.”

On Authoritarianism- “Yet, even as we remain confident in the values of the free world, we must not fail to recognize that we are at a fragile and dangerous moment in history.

Authoritarianism is most dangerous when challenged and on the decline.”

On American Values- “We want leaders who can discuss and debate, with as much civility as passion. And with a view to persuade, not to intimidate. To encourage, not demonize or defeat.

We believe that free and fair trade can be mutually beneficial. We want to work together with our allies for peace and prosperity. We still believe that everyone deserves a shot at their dreams.

We still believe in a nation where an immigrant born on a chicken farm in Jeollanam-do province in Korea can grow up to become the very first Korean-born First Lady of any state in American history.”

Full text below:

Thank you. I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, the people of Jeju and Korea for their warm welcome and hospitality.

We appreciate the enduring alliance and the special friendship between the Republic of Korea, the State of Maryland, and the United States of America.

We are here on a week-long trade mission to Korea as we continue to strengthen the partnership between our two regions.

I’d like to recognize my beautiful wife, Yumi—Maryland’s First Lady—who grew up here in Korea.

Yumi is proud of her Korean heritage and she does a great job representing the people of Maryland and the United States of America.

I’m proud to be called a ‘hanguk sahwi,’ a son-in-law of Korea.

We are grateful for this opportunity to join with so many distinguished leaders who share the same goal of a more peaceful and prosperous future for all. Jeju truly is a global symbol of peace and prosperity.

In 1991, South Korean President Roh Tae-Woo invited Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for an historic and meaningful summit here. He was the first Soviet leader to visit South Korea.

Just a few years prior, such a meeting would have been unthinkable.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Soviet Union was on the march, violently occupying Afghanistan, and shooting down a Korean airplane, tragically killing 269 innocent people.

The threat of nuclear conflict was real. Some wondered whether the free world had perhaps seen its moment in the sun.

At that time, I was working for Ronald Reagan’s campaign for president. Reagan strongly rejected the pessimism that had infected our politics. He believed in the power of a determined and confident free people.

He called on the free world to “not just contain communism,” but to “transcend communism” with “a crusade for freedom that will engage the faith and fortitude of the next generation.”

Reagan said, “for the sake of peace and justice, let us move toward a world in which all people are at least free to determine their destiny.”

He worked with America’s allies to push back on the rising tide of communism and to put the Soviet Union on its heels.

Reagan secured peace through strength working with Mikhail Gorbachev to end the Cold War without a shot being fired.

In a Nobel lecture, Gorbachev described what he and Ronald Reagan knew, but what few others understood.

Gorbachev said: “To a casual observer the Soviet Union seemed to present a picture of relative well-being, stability and order. The misinformed society under the spell of propaganda was hardly aware of what was going on and what the immediate future had in store for it.”

Today, we are once again at such a pivotal moment in world history.

Russia has invaded a peaceful neighbor in Ukraine. North Korea and Iran are emerging nuclear powers and reckless aggressors.

China threatens Taiwan and seeks to dominate Asia and the world. Many are concerned about whether the free world still has the will to lead.

To those who again doubt the free world, I would say, do not bet against freedom and democracy.

People all across the world still yearn to live in freedom.

President Zelensky and the brave people of Ukraine have reminded the world of the power of the human heart that yearns to be free.

Australia’s stand for economic sovereignty shows us that power cannot be sustained on coercion alone.

The historic success of America’s development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines affirms that innovation and prosperity cannot be dictated by any centralized state.

Images of a divided America have been amplified by our adversaries to cast into doubt whether America can still stand united behind its core values.

But Americans are not as divided as it appears.

In Maryland, we have shown a better path forward. I am a Republican governor, elected in the most Democratic state in America.

For eight years we have brought together all of our citizens—regardless of age, race, gender, or party affiliation—to achieve bipartisan, commonsense solutions.

When COVID-19 struck our shores, I was chairman of America’s governors as governors on both sides of the aisle stepped up on the front lines together.

We understood that in times of crisis, partisan politics must be put aside. In spite of our differences, there is far more that unites us than that which divides us.

Most of us want the same thing. We have not given up on the values of freedom and democracy.

We want leaders who can discuss and debate with as much civility as passion and with a view to persuade, not to intimidate, to encourage, not demonize or defeat.

We believe that free and fair trade can be mutually beneficial.

We want to work together with our allies for peace and prosperity. We still believe that everyone deserves a shot at their dreams.

We still believe in a nation where an immigrant born on a chicken farm in Jeollanam-do Province in Korea can grow up to become the very first Korean-born First Lady of any state in American history.

Yet, even as we remain confident in the values of the free world, we must not fail to recognize that we are at a fragile and dangerous moment in history.

Authoritarianism is most dangerous when challenged and on the decline.

Last year, Mikhail Gorbachev spoke to this very forum here in Jeju. Sadly, just weeks ago, we lost him.

Many of the other great leaders like Reagan, who brought about the peaceful end of the Cold War, are no longer with us.

The task of ensuring peace and prosperity in our time now falls to the world leaders at this Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity here today.

Let us rise to the challenge and meet this moment.

Let us work together towards peace, prosperity, and a better future for all those who seek it.

Let us stand united behind the enduring values of freedom and democracy.

Thank you.