Hoeven Travels to DMZ; Meets with South Korean Defense, Agriculture Officials to Strengthen Security, Trade Ties
Senator Traveling to Taiwan to Meet with President Tsai, National Security Council, and Agriculture Leaders
SEOUL – Senator John Hoeven this week met with government, military and agriculture leaders in South Korea to strengthen military and agriculture trade ties with South Korea. Hoeven’s visit is timely as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, which was signed in 1953. As a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for funding U.S. military forces, Hoeven traveled to Seoul and the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to meet with defense and military leaders. Hoeven, who is also the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, met with agriculture officials in the region as well to reinforce the importance of U.S. agriculture trade to South Korea, which is the sixth largest market for U.S. products.
Hoeven is now traveling to Taiwan, where the senator will meet with President Tsai, members of the National Security Council and agriculture trade representatives to enhance security cooperation and trade opportunities.
“Taiwan is an extremely important partner that shares our interest in peace, security, human rights and free trade,” said Hoeven. “We look forward to meeting with government and business leaders in Taipei as we work to strengthen security cooperation, deter aggression, and continue to build our economic and agricultural ties.”
With nearly 30,000 U.S. forces in South Korea, the senator traveled to the DMZ to see firsthand the joint security zone. Hoeven met with various defense and military leaders to strengthen security cooperation with South Korea, one of the United States’ strongest partners in the Pacific region. Hoeven met with National Assembly Secretary General Lee Kwang-jae and U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip S. Goldberg, as well as national defense officials, and military leaders.
“This year marks the 70th anniversary of the alliance between the United States and South Korea. We have been allies, partners and friends since 1953. This military alliance is critical to preserving peace in the region,” said Hoeven. “Deterring North Korean aggression depends on a joint Korean and U.S. conventional force backed by a modernized and credible U.S. nuclear deterrent. After visiting the DMZ and meeting with our South Korean allies, it is clear that we must continue to modernize U.S. forces, including the nuclear forces in my home state of North Dakota, to ensure peace and prosperity in the region.”
Hoeven traveled to South Korea in 2011 to build support for the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement and help open new markets for North Dakota and U.S. agriculture producers. As a result of the agreement, U.S. agricultural exports to South Korea have increased by more than 75 percent. Exports for beef have quintupled and now reach more than $2.6 billion in 2022 making South Korea the largest export market for U.S. beef and beef products. Soybean exports have grown by more than 60 percent, making South Korea the second largest market for U.S. exports and wheat exports have grown by 30 percent, making South Korea the fourth largest market for U.S. exports.
Hoeven’s visit to the nation builds upon his 2011 efforts and comes as part of his ongoing work as the ranking member on the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee and a senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee to improve market access for farmers and ranchers.
“South Korea is one of the United States most reliable trading partners, and strongest allies in the Pacific with a market-based economy,” said Hoeven. “For more than 20 years, we’ve worked to open South Korean markets for U.S. farmers and ranchers. Today, South Korea is the United States’ sixth-largest export market for U.S. products. We reaffirmed the importance of trade with South Korea and continue working to build this mutually beneficial relationship.”
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