The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Remarks by President Obama and President Park at Korean Seals Presentation
Seoul, Republic of Korea
5:49 P.M. KST
PRESIDENT OBAMA: So we just had an excellent meeting, and I know that we’ll have the opportunity to answer questions from the press about policy. But I just wanted to make a brief remark about these remarkable artifacts.
These are historic seals that were part of the monarchy here in Korea. And during the Korean War, a Marine from the United States found them and took them back as mementos to the United States. I don’t think he fully appreciated the historic significance of them.
After his passing, his widow discovered how important they were, and she graciously recognized that they appropriately belonged here in Korea. So she facilitated the return and I wanted to just let the Korean people know that they’re back where they belong. And this is a symbol, hopefully, of the respect that we have for Korean culture and our friendship. They’re very beautiful.
PRESIDENT PARK: (As interpreted.) It’s very significant that we were able to return home these very historic and precious artifacts. And I do wish to thank President Obama, as well as the American people, for this gesture.
This event is really the fruits of the close consultations and collaboration that our two countries have been undertaking since late last year. And I do wish to acknowledge all the hard work of the officials, the relevant officials at the Department of Homeland Security as well as other related agencies for their hard work.
I also understand that later this year we’re preparing to adopt an MOU with regard to the return of cultural artifacts, and preparations are currently underway to do so. And I believe the event can further catalyze collaboration in terms and with regard to cultural heritage. Once again, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, and the American government for this wonderful present.
5:52 P.M. KST