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  • President Obama: Thank you.

  • (applause)

  • Please, thank you very much.

  • To President Park, faculty, staff and students,

  • thank you so much for this very warm welcome.

  • It is a great honor to be here at Hankuk University

  • of Foreign Studies.

  • (applause)

  • I want to thank Dr. Park for, a few moments ago,

  • making me an honorary alumni of the university.

  • (applause)

  • I know that this school has one of the world's finest foreign

  • language programs -- which means that your English is much better

  • than my Korean.

  • (laughter)

  • All I can say is, kamsa hamnida.

  • (applause)

  • Now, this is my third visit to the Republic

  • of Korea as President.

  • I've now been to Seoul more times than any other capital --

  • except for Washington, D.C., of course.

  • This reflects the extraordinary bonds between our two countries

  • and our commitment to each other.

  • I'm pleased that we're joined by so many leaders here today,

  • Koreans and Americans, who help keep us free and strong

  • and prosperous every day.

  • That includes our first Korean-American ambassador

  • to the Republic of Korea -- Ambassador Sung Kim.

  • (applause)

  • I've seen the deep connections between our peoples in my own

  • life -- among friends, colleagues.

  • I've seen it so many patriotic Korean Americans,

  • including a man born in this city of Seoul,

  • who came to America and has dedicated his life to lifting

  • up the poor and sick of the world.

  • And last week I was proud to nominate him to lead the World

  • Bank -- Dr. Jim Yong Kim.

  • (applause)

  • I've also seen the bonds in our men and women in uniform,

  • like the American and Korean troops I visited yesterday along

  • the DMZ -- Freedom's Frontier.

  • And we salute their service and are very grateful for them.

  • We honor all those who have given their lives in our

  • defense, including the 46 brave souls who perished aboard the

  • Cheonan two years ago today.

  • And in their memory we reaffirm the enduring promise at the core

  • of our alliance -- we stand together,

  • and the commitment of the United States to the defense and the

  • security of the Republic of Korea will never waver.

  • (applause)

  • Most of all, I see the strength of our alliance in all of you.

  • For decades, this school has produced leaders -- public

  • servants, diplomats, businesspeople -- who've helped

  • propel the modern miracle that is Korea-- transforming it from

  • crushing poverty to one of the world's most dynamic economies;

  • from authoritarianism to a thriving democracy;

  • from a country focused inward to a leader for security and

  • prosperity not only in this region but also around the

  • world -- a truly "Global Korea."

  • So to all the students here today,

  • this is the Korea your generation will inherit.

  • And I believe there's no limits to what our two nations can

  • achieve together.

  • For like your parents and grandparents before you,

  • you know that the future is what we make of it.

  • And you know that in our digital age,

  • we can connect and innovate across borders like never

  • before -- with your smart phones and Twitter and Me2Day

  • and Kakao Talk.

  • (laughter and applause)

  • It's no wonder so many people around the world have caught

  • the Korean Wave, Hallyu.

  • (applause)

  • Or consider this: In advance of my visit,

  • our embassy invited Koreans to send us your questions using

  • social media.

  • Some of you may have sent questions.

  • And they called it, "Ask President Obama."

  • Now, one of you -- maybe it was you,

  • maybe it was somebody else -- this is true -- asked this

  • question: "Have you posted, yourself,

  • a supportive opinion on a website under a disguised name,

  • pretending you are one of the supporters of President Obama?"

  • (laughter)

  • I hadn't thought of this.

  • (laughter)

  • But the truth is I have not done this.

  • Maybe my daughters have.

  • (laughter)

  • But I haven't done that myself.

  • So our shared future -- and the unprecedented opportunity to

  • meet shared challenges together -- is what brings me to Seoul.

  • Over the next two days, under President Lee's leadership,

  • we'll move ahead with the urgent work of preventing nuclear

  • terrorism by securing the world's nuclear materials.

  • This is an important part of the broader,

  • comprehensive agenda that I want to talk with you about today --

  • our vision of a world without nuclear weapons.

  • Three years ago, I traveled to Prague and I declared America's

  • commitment to stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and

  • to seeking a world without them.

  • I said I knew that this goal would not be reached quickly,

  • perhaps not in my lifetime, but I knew we had to begin,

  • with concrete steps.

  • And in your generation, I see the spirit we need in this

  • endeavor -- an optimism that beats in the hearts of so many

  • young people around the world.

  • It's that refusal to accept the world as it is,

  • the imagination to see the world as it ought to be,

  • and the courage to turn that vision into reality.

  • So today, with you, I want to take stock of our journey and

  • chart our next steps.

  • Here in Seoul, more than 50 nations will mark our progress

  • toward the goal we set at the summit I hosted two years ago

  • in Washington -- securing the world's vulnerable nuclear

  • materials in four years so that they never fall into the hands

  • of terrorists.

  • And since then, nations -- including the United States --

  • have boosted security at nuclear facilities.

  • South Korea, Japan, Pakistan and others are building new centers

  • to improve nuclear security and training.

  • Nations like Kazakhstan have moved nuclear materials to more

  • secure locations.

  • Mexico, and just yesterday Ukraine,

  • have joined the ranks of nations that have removed all the highly

  • enriched uranium from their territory.

  • All told, thousands of pounds of nuclear material have been

  • removed from vulnerable sites around the world.

  • This was deadly material that is now secure and can now never be

  • used against a city like Seoul.

  • We're also using every tool at our disposal to break up black

  • markets and nuclear material.

  • Countries like Georgia and Moldova have seized highly

  • enriched uranium from smugglers.

  • And countries like Jordan are building their own

  • counter-smuggling teams, and we're tying them together in a

  • global network of intelligence and law enforcement.

  • Nearly 20 nations have now ratified the treaties and

  • international partnerships that are at the center of

  • our efforts.

  • And I should add that with the death of Osama bin Laden and the

  • major blows that we've struck against al Qaeda,

  • a terrorist organization that has actively sought nuclear

  • weapons is now on the path to defeat.

  • So in short, the international community has made it harder

  • than ever for terrorists to acquire nuclear weapons,

  • and that has made us all safer.

  • We're building an international architecture that can ensure

  • nuclear safety.

  • But we're under no illusions.

  • We know that nuclear material, enough for many weapons,

  • is still being stored without adequate protection.

  • And we know that terrorists and criminal gangs are still trying

  • to get their hands on it -- as well as radioactive material for

  • a dirty bomb.

  • We know that just the smallest amount of plutonium -- about the

  • size of an apple -- could kill hundreds of thousands and spark

  • a global crisis.

  • The danger of nuclear terrorism remains one of the greatest

  • threats to global security.

  • And that's why here in Seoul, we need to keep at it.

  • And I believe we will.

  • We're expecting dozens of nations to announce over the

  • next several days that they've fulfilled the promises they made

  • two years ago.

  • And we're now expecting more commitments -- tangible,

  • concrete action -- to secure nuclear materials and,

  • in some cases, remove them completely.

  • This is the serious, sustained global effort that we need,

  • and it's an example of more nations bearing the

  • responsibility and the costs of meeting global challenges.

  • This is how the international community should work in the

  • 21st century.

  • And Korea is one of the key leaders in this process.

  • The United States will continue to do our part -- securing our

  • own material and helping others protect theirs.

  • We're moving forward with Russia to eliminate enough plutonium

  • for about 17,000 nuclear weapons and turn it instead

  • into electricity.

  • I can announce today a new agreement by the United States

  • and several European partners toward sustaining the supply of

  • medical isotopes that are used to treat cancer and heart

  • disease without the use of highly enriched uranium.

  • And we will work with industry and hospitals and research

  • centers in the United States and around the world,

  • to recover thousands of unneeded radiological materials so that

  • they can never do us harm.

  • Now, American leadership has been essential to progress in

  • a second area -- taking concrete steps towards a world without

  • nuclear weapons.

  • As a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,

  • this is our obligation, and it's one that I take very seriously.

  • But I believe the United States has a unique responsibility to

  • act -- indeed, we have a moral obligation.

  • I say this as President of the only nation ever

  • to use nuclear weapons.

  • I say it as a Commander-in-Chief who knows that our nuclear codes

  • are never far from my side.

  • Most of all, I say it as a father,

  • who wants my two young daughters to grow up in a world where

  • everything they know and love can't be instantly wiped out.

  • Over the past three years, we've made important progress.

  • With Russia, we're now reducing our arsenal under the New START

  • Treaty -- the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly

  • 20 years.

  • And when we're done, we will have cut American and Russian

  • deployed nuclear warheads to their lowest levels

  • since the 1950s.

  • As President, I changed our nuclear posture to reduce the

  • number and role of nuclear weapons in our national

  • security strategy.

  • I made it clear that the United States will not develop new

  • nuclear warheads.

  • And we will not pursue new military missions

  • for nuclear weapons.

  • We've narrowed the range of contingencies under which we

  • would ever use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.

  • At the same time, I've made it clear that so long as nuclear

  • weapons exist, we'll work with our Congress to maintain a safe,

  • secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense not

  • only of the United States but also our allies -- including

  • South Korea and Japan.

  • My administration's nuclear posture recognizes that the

  • massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War

  • is poorly suited to today's threats,

  • including nuclear terrorism.

  • So last summer, I directed my national security team to

  • conduct a comprehensive study of our nuclear forces.

  • That study is still underway.

  • But even as we have more work to do,

  • we can already say with confidence that we have more

  • nuclear weapons than we need.

  • Even after New START, the United States will still have more than

  • 1,500 deployed nuclear weapons, and some 5,000 warheads.

  • I firmly believe that we can ensure the security of the

  • United States and our allies, maintain a strong deterrent

  • against any threat, and still pursue further reductions in

  • our nuclear arsenal.

  • Going forward, we'll continue to seek discussions with Russia on

  • a step we have never taken before -- reducing not only

  • our strategic nuclear warheads, but also tactical weapons and

  • warheads in reserve.

  • I look forward to discussing this agenda with President

  • Putin when we will meet in May.

  • Missile defense will be on the agenda,