COLUMBIA — U.S. Senator Kit Bond spoke on economic, military and educational ties to Korea Monday at MU’s annual Harry S. Truman Conference, held in honor of Korea Week.
He was greeted by applause upon his arrival to the Reynolds Alumni Center on MU’s campus and his closing remarks earned him two standing ovations. Bond spoke for about 15 minutes on the importance of strengthening the U.S. and MU’s partnerships with Korea.
“I think it is extremely important that we get to know the countries that are our allies and get to know people better,” Bond said.
Bond discussed the establishment of a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement and the further development of educational exchange programs at MU.
“Harry S. Truman returned to Missouri after his presidency and the Korean War, and he helped to create an opportunity for qualified Korean students to attend Missouri, tuition-free,” Bond said. “Some 50 years later, Missouri University is very proud to continue to welcome an average of 100 Korean students a year.”
Other parts of the conference included discussions on nuclear development in North Korea, the role of the press in Korean society and the impact of a U.S.-Korea free trade agreement on Korea’s agricultural industry, but Bond’s arrival generated the most excitement.
Koreans, as well as Americans, crowded around him, trying to get a picture of him as he greeted conference members.
“You’ve done all the hard work and now you’ve got all the important things done,” Bond said of other speakers like Kyung-Min Kim, a professor of political science at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea. Kim graduated with a doctorate in political science from MU.
Koreans, such as MU student Min Ju Jo, were supportive of Bond’s ideas.
“I agreed with the last part, when the senator said he believed Korea and America’s relationship is important,” Min said. “He hopes it will develop and be better, and I totally agree with that.”