Heritage Foundation President Dr. Edwin Feulner is in South Korea on Monday attending the inauguration of Park Geun-hye as that nation’s new president and successor to Lee Myung-bak. Feulner has remained a stalwart advocate for Korea-U.S. relations for more than 40 years, and in that time has met with every president of the Republic of Korea starting with Park Geun-hye’s father, Park Chung-hee.
Over that same period, Korean-U.S. security and economic relations have strengthened, culminating in the 2011 passage and 2012 implementation of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
“I am immensely proud of the people and leaders of the Republic of Korea,” said Feulner. “The United States and South Korea now stand side by side as equal partners. Over the years, Madame Park Geun-hye has been a very good friend of The Heritage Foundation. I have every confidence that, as president, she will carry South Korea’s success and the relationship with the United States on to new heights.” Feulner continued:
South Korea is a beacon of leadership for so many other nations now aspiring to greater security and prosperity for their people, and it plays a critical role in advancing freedom in the region.
When I first traveled there in the early 1970s, GDP per capita was less than $2,000. Over the past four decades, South Korea has achieved truly remarkable economic development reaching GDP per capita of over $30,000. Today, as a dynamic democracy, South Korea’s innovative and vibrant economy is one of the world’s 35 freest economies in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom.